As a member of the Citizens Task Force, I am charged with trying to find suggestions for Citizens to become less competitive with private industry. At the end of the first meeting, one obvious, but possibly not appreciated answer, is to raise rates. Charging more money for the same product and service would be less competitive. I felt there had to be more we could do than reach that obvious conclusion.
Another method to become less competitive is to do exactly what Citizens is doing—giving the business away to their competitors. On Thursday, Florida newspapers reported that Citizens was doing just that. Citizens gave over 100,000 policies away to private carriers.
I guess the two “easy” suggestions are taken. I hope the Task Force can find something else to report to the legislature; if these two methods are it, the taxpayers received nothing for their money.
I hope the small private carriers continue to grow, expand services, stay profitable and start to compete with the large personal lines carriers that left Florida and its policyholders without insurance. I hope they can accomplish this with relatively low rates because the person that appointed me to the Task Force, Governor Crist, demands that insurance rates are as low as possible. I do not think the future is going to be that easy. It never is.