In Florida, lawmakers have been working on fixing the problems of the state-run Citizens Property Insurance Corp. Their efforts have yielded few results and now legislation that could help the program recover from its massive debt has hit a roadblock. Legislators have mostly been focused on reducing the number of people receiving coverage from Citizens by having private insurance companies take on more policies. The Legislature has approved an amendment to the bill that would have accomplished this, House Bill 245, which makes transferring policies more difficult.
Now, insurers must first obtain an approved signature before taking over a policy from Citizens. Lawmakers who supported the amendment claim that it would help protect consumers from being exploited by private insurance companies, which could, supposedly, hi-jack policies from the state-run insurance company. Opponents claim that the amendment will discourage insurers from taking on additional policies from Citizens because they would have more dealings with state regulators and bureaucracy. Nonetheless, the supporters of the amendment, and many consumers, claim that it is a major victory in terms of consumer protection.
Citizens accounts for more than 1.5 million policies throughout the state. Legislators have been looking for ways to reduce the number of these policies significantly by opening up the company’s pool to private insurers. Legislators are also considering letting out-of-state insurers participate. This idea has gained a fair amount of opposition, however, because these insurers would not be required to comply with the same regulations that govern native insurance companies.
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