Florida Senate President Jeff Atwater is a banker with a heart. He has supported policyholder friendly legislation in past sessions. From a policyholder’s perspective, and unlike the Chamber of Commerce that is dominated by State Farm and the insurance industry, he is a businessman who stands up to insurance lobbyists and is one of the “good guys.”
Atwater is keenly aware of the financial problems with the Florida Catastrophe Fund. I found this remark in his January 28th letter regarding the Federal Stimulus Law important to all Floridians and the insurance industry:
“State discretion in the use of at least a portion of the package would allow Florida to stabilize its CAT fund and improve the viability of the commercial insurance market within the state. This would reduce the liability of our citizens for the financial consequences of a devastating hurricane season. Stability in the insurance markets would help sustain recovery in the housing market.”
The Catastrophe Fund must file a report by February 1st. Most anticipate that it will indicate that the Fund will not have sufficient access to money in the event of a hurricane because the credit markets are in turmoil. Atwater and all Floridians may need this “discretion” more than that one paragraph may indicate.