My last meeting as a member of the Citizens Mission Review Task Force is today. There is already dissatisfaction with the Task Force and our Report is not complete.
Senator Mike Fasano reportedly is drafting a bill that will prevent Citizens from raising rates. Given that his constituents are from an area along the coast and plagued with sinkholes so that Citizens insures many of them, I appreciate his desire to be seen as a "rate champion" for those policyholders–even if it is unfair to his other constituents not insured by Citizens.
Barney Bishop, of Associated Industries of Florida, has a special letter on his web site calling for no caps on rates. Since the insurance industry is heavily involved with the propaganda of that lobbying organization, I can understand his position as well. I am also curious as to what he tells businessmen who are members of his group regarding the increased cost of rates if there were no cap on increases,contrary to the Task Force’s reccomendation.
Is there ever a common middle ground? Or, is the middle just a place to get shot at by zealots from either side of a controversy?
The January edition of the Florida Underwriter has an editorial by Joan Collier entitled, "The SEC, Secrets, and Citizens." She notes that the SEC started an investigation of Citizens in June. Curiously, nobody reported this to its Board of Governors or the public until December 12. So much for Government in the Sunshine.
And nobody has explained where the claims money is going to come from if another Hurricane Andrew, Katrina, or Ike strike Dade, Broward, or Tampa Bay. While we can argue about rates, the role of Citizens, and whether or not the public should be informed of a federal government investigation of its operations, we surely cannot play a child’s game of make believe when we face a possible catastrophic financial situation if such a hurricane struck.
Floridians have a right to know where they stand. Most of my clients want to know how I objectively see their case rather than a best case scenario. One of the hardest, but most important, actions a leader can take is to provide disappointing information in a calm and accurate manner.
Americans can accept bad news. We can understand why sacrifice is necessary. What we cannot afford is political grandstanding which implies action is not needed when the risk our State will be devestated is so dire.
Right now, the Texas Windstorm Insurance Association (TWIA) is nearly bankrupt. Many of our Hurricane Ike clients are speculating that payments are delayed or partial because TWIA is running out of cash.
The TWIA financial problem will be nothing compared to Florida’s if a major hurricane strikes later this year and our financial situation remains the same as today.