Americans love to root for underdogs. It is part of our value system that anybody can become successful in this Country through hard, honest work and perseverance. Floridians are rooting for the small competitors of State Farm since State Farm’s announcement that it is leaving Florida’s property insurance market.

The St Petersburg Times noted that such a small competitor, Security First Insurance, has announced it will take 50,000 State Farm policies. Security First is run by former Florida State Senator Locke Burt, a fellow member of the Citizens Mission Review Task Force, .

Burt is one of the most knowledgeable individuals of the Florida insurance market, with a historical perspective. He was a politician in the 90’s when the insurance problems following Hurricane Andrew first arose. During the Task Force meetings, I listened carefully to him for an understanding of tried and failed attempts to correct the insurance problems which still plague Floridians. I also watched out for his attempts to suggest obvious pro-insurer legislation–he runs an insurance company.

While I have a great deal of respect for Locke Burt and wish his company great success, I quite often found myself at odds with him during debates of the Task Force. He was the one that pushed for a suggested law that would have eliminated sinkhole coverage. At one point during the last meeting, I made a rather pointed comment to Burt which suggested that he wanted to pass such legislation so his company and all other insurers never paid claims and would just collect premiums.

The bottom line is that for property coverage to exist in Florida, we need the smaller companies to succeed. I wish Security First great financial success. I also hope that they provide coverages Floridians need and that they manage their customers’ policies and claims with the highest degree of integrity. As I have said in the past, it does not take a rocket scientist to figure out that it is far more profitable to take premiums and not pay fully and promptly, than to do otherwise.