Florida Legislative Preview - 2012
Redistricting won't completely dominate the legislative landscape in January. A look at other issues percolating in the background and who wants what.
• CITIZENS — The state-run "insurer of last resort" is the biggest insurer in Florida, growing at a rate of about 1,000 policies per day. With its rates not actuarially sound, Citizens subjects the state to a financial catastrophe in the event of a big storm. One potential fix — proposed by Sen. Garrett Richter and Rep. Jim Boyd — would be to allow surplus lines insurance companies (out-of-state insurers with less oversight than in-state insurers) to participate in a program to shrink Citizens' rolls. Sam Miller, executive vice president of the Florida Insurance Council, says a true fix will "involve a lot more," including higher rates so Citizens no longer competes with the private market, tighter eligibility requirements, less attractive policy coverages and other changes contained in the Citizens bill that did not pass during the 2011 session.
• PIP — Auto insurers, business groups like the Florida Chamber and AIF, the Florida Sheriffs Association and others are pushing for reform of Florida's no-fault auto insurance system — in particular the state's mandatory $10,000 personal injury protection coverage. Throughout the state, PIP fraud crime rings stage accidents and work with crooked clinics to file fraudulent claims, costing insurers hundreds of millions of dollars and driving up costs for consumers. Gov. Rick Scott, meanwhile, hasn't ruled out the idea of eliminating PIP altogether.
[Photo: Douglas Clifford/Tampa Bay Times]