Statement From Insurance Commissioner Kevin McCarty On Insurance Reforms Signed Into Law
TALLAHASSEE (01/25/2007) Gov. Charlie Crist today signed into law a comprehensive insurance reform bill designed to make property insurance more affordable and to provide important consumer protections. The Florida Legislature enacted these measures during a Special Legislative Session specifically addressing Florida's insurance crisis. Subsequent to the signing of the bill, Insurance Commissioner Kevin McCarty released the following statement:
"The legislation Gov. Crist signed into law today is significant and far reaching and will bring badly needed rate relief to Floridians. The successful effort to tackle the problems faced by residential and business property insurance consumers is particularly noteworthy considering the short time frame in which it has been accomplished. Senate and House leadership, members and staff have given a tremendous effort in crafting this legislation and should be proud of their accomplishment.
"The bill provides valuable enhancements to the Florida Hurricane Catastrophe Fund, which will help offset the massive increase in unregulated global reinsurance costs that have put immense upward pressure on insurance rates in Florida. Additionally, scheduled rate hikes for Citizens Property Insurance Corporation have been rescinded. This bill also makes key changes to the organizational structure at Citizens that will result in improved service, better product choices and further rate relief.
"The legislation also gives our insurance consumers more freedom and flexibility in tailoring their policies to their individual needs, which could yield significant savings. Lawmakers wisely coupled these increased coverage choices with added transparency to encourage consumer awareness of the ramifications of these changes.
"While the accomplishments of this Special Legislative Session have been significant and far-reaching, this is a first step - not a final step. This Office will continue to assist Gov. Crist, the Florida Cabinet and the Legislature in their efforts to further address the unique challenges of our state's property insurance markets and bring further rate relief to Floridians in a fiscally responsible manner."
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