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Florida Today: Letter: Don’t subsidize Citizens’ out-of-state policyholders

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

By Christian R. Cámara

While politicians repeatedly have tinkered around the edges of true Citizens Property Insurance Corp. reform, this session, state legislators are looking to place substantial focus on the property insurance subsidies received by Citizens policyholders who live outside the state or country.

Pointing to Citizens’ data that reveals there are nearly 180,000 non-Florida residents with Citizens policies, Senate Banking & Insurance Committee Chairman David Simmons, R-Altamonte Springs, recently announced he will begin work on a 2014 Citizens Property Insurance Corp. package, which may end subsidies for those homeowners.

We believe this change to state law would be welcomed by Floridians. According to a recent poll released by Stronger Safer Florida, a nonpartisan coalition comprised of business, consumer and environmental groups from throughout Florida, including the R Street Institute, 77 percent of Floridians oppose paying taxes to subsidize out-of-state Citizens Property Insurance Corp. policyholders.

The subsidized insurance offered through Citizens is an ongoing financial risk for all Floridians. If swift changes are not made to the state-run insurer, we are only one major storm away from having “hurricane tax” assessments added to our policies to help cover the cost of storm-related claims. An important first step in reform is to remove Citizens subsidies for these non-Floridians who maintain multiple homes.

We urge the Florida Legislature to implement needed changes that protect hardworking Floridians, including homeowners, businesses owners, renters, churches and charitable organizations that call Florida home year-round.

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