On February 7, 2011, the Senate Banking and Insurance Committee met in Tallahassee to discuss SB 408. This was supposed to be the meeting at which the full bill would be voted on. However, it soon became clear that the bill was too complicated to make it through this meeting in time. The meeting was scheduled from 10:15am – 12:15pm. When the committee got to the portion of the agenda dealing with SB 408, they began where they left off last week – debating the numerous amendments being offered by Senator Mike Fasano. If you read this blog regularly, you know that Senator Fasano is often a voice in the dark for consumers on this committee. As Fasano began to go through his amendments, it was clear that his pro-consumer amendments were going to fail. In fact, several of the amendments were compromises between the industry and consumer positions. Nevertheless, they were consistently voted down. The St. Petersburg Times describes the testy exchange between Senators Alexander, Fasano and Negron. My favorite part of the meeting:
Things got testy when Fasano’s amendment requiring that homeowners receive an engineer’s report after repairs are made came up. Sen. J.D. Alexander argued against the amendment, starting out by speaking broadly about the problems with sinkhole insurance claims and then charging that Fasano’s amendment was probably written by a plaintiff’s attorney.
Fasano shot back that he didn’t need to be lectured on the sinkhole insurance issue, and wondered why nothing benefiting homeowners was included in the bill. "I could easily suggest this whole bill before us was written by the insurance industry," he said.