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The Tampa Tribune: Citizens’ ‘time bomb’

Monday, November 21, 2011

Citizens’ ‘time bomb’

Regarding “Citizens Property Insurance wants higher rates, other changes” (Nov. 15):

As Florida’s economy struggles to recover, there is one issue brewing below the surface that, if left unattended, may erase any recovery, or worse. I commend Gov. Rick Scott and the Citizens Property Insurance board for proactively tackling Citizens’ overexposure to protect the state’s taxpayers.

Unfortunately, due to policies pursued by Scott’s predecessor that were rooted more in political calculation than common sense, Citizens was expanded well beyond its intended purpose of providing coverage for people genuinely unable to find coverage in the private market. It is now Florida’s largest insurer, without the ability to collect enough money to cover the additional risk. If Citizens fell short by millions or billions of dollars after a hurricane, the state’s taxpayers would be forced to bail it out through massive taxes on every policy. This would be catastrophic to the state’s fragile economy.

Scott and the Citizens board’s proposal to scale back Citizens is a common-sense approach to dealing with what is otherwise a ticking time bomb.

Another major threat to Florida’s financial future is the overexposure of the Florida Hurricane Catastrophe Fund, which the Legislature would do well in scaling back sooner rather than later.

Christian R. Cámara


The writer is director of the Florida Insurance Project for The Heartland Institute.

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