Tuesday afternoon, I joined 250 fellow Floridians in the bright sunshine protesting against extraordinary rate hikes allowed by Florida’s most recent insurance legislation. Here is a picture of me with Florida Representative Richard Corcoran at the protest:

There has been quite a bit of media attention regarding the protest over Florida’s recent insurance legislation:

Florida Senator Mike Fasano had some very enlightening comments about our politicians’ lack of concern for their policyholder constituents:

Is there no common sense left in Tallahassee? Why would they even imagine or even consider suggesting these types of rate increases when people, look at them here. There are senior citizens, working families who can barely take care of the bills they have today. They’re going to lose their homes

That bill was signed into law by our Governor. It has barely gone into effect and we already see the consequences the people of this area will pay.

There are very few people in Tallahassee looking out for the little people.

Sean Shaw helped organize the event. He noted in Property Insurance Bill is presented to the Governor that these new insurance laws will harm policyholder interests:

I would argue that the majority of changes contained in SB 408 are anti-consumer — the sinkhole and claims payment provisions in particular.

Lastly, although this bill is bad, the Legislative Session could have been a lot worse for insurance consumers of Florida. Thankfully, there were a lot of groups representing consumers in Tallahassee and the concerted effort to halt other anti-consumer legislation was successful. Hopefully, we can maintain the momentum.

While Shaw has maintained momentum through this protest, some politicians still parrot the insurance industry’s propaganda that these laws were needed to curb fraud. State Representative Robert Schenck, a Republican representing the 44th district, voted for the original House bill. He explained his rationale doing so–“So if you guys want to know why we have so much trouble with sinkhole coverage in Hernando County, that’s why. It’s the rampant fraud.”

Robert Schenck’s explanation is fraudulent, and he should apologize to his constituents for calling them insurance cheats. In Newspaper Questions Whether Politicians Favor the Insurance Industry Over Voters, I noted that politicians who are caught in bed with insurance industry lobbyists often resort to the “fraud” bogeyman as their excuse for voting for insurance industry interests to the detriment of their constituents:

I am amazed that after consumer advocates, including myself and Florida’s previous Insurance Consumer Advocate Sean Shaw, noted the lack of any concrete evidence that insurance fraud is forcing insurers to charge higher rates, lawmakers continue to parrot the insurance industry’s mantra. In essence, lawmakers are calling many of their own constituents who make insurance claims crooks, even though there is no evidence to suggest this is true.

Do you think Representative John Legg’s unfortunate constituents who suffered a sinkhole loss would appreciate his intimating that they committed a fraud? Do you think Legg would want those unfortunate constituents to be made aware of his statement? Why should anybody make such a charge, a felony crime, against people with absolutely no proof? Many of these people have seen their largest investments-their homes-significantly damaged or effectively destroyed through no fault of their own. And, how does one create or fraudulently convince insurers of a sinkhole loss?

The truth is that there is a little, if any, evidence of insurance fraud. Premiums should have gone down because the laws Legg and other Legislators voted for took away benefits, and those Legislators changed the laws to make it much more difficult for their constituents to collect if they have a loss. As a result, all Floridians with legitimate losses will receive fewer benefits.

The truth will set you free.