FT. LAUDERDALE (CBS4) – Your homeowner’s insurance rates will go up because of a bill signed into law just yesterday by Governor Rick Scott.
He says the bill is aimed at increasing competition in the state. But not everyone sees it that way.
CBS4 caught up with the governor at his hurricane conference in Fort Lauderdale Wednesday to ask about the bill.
Governor Scott was quick to point out Florida has been hurricane free for five years. He made no mention though how insurance rates keep going up and are now guaranteed to go up thanks in part to a bill passed by legislators this month and signed by Scott Wednesday.
The bill allows insurers to drop sinkhole coverage, limit the time you have to make a claim, and withhold payments until repairs are made.
In exchange homeowners will pay up to 15% more… every year.
CBS4’s David Sutta asked the Governor after the conference. “A lot of people feel like the rates are being hiked. The coverage is not as good and it seems to them, at least I’ve heard its anti-consumerist, anti-job. What do you say to this?” Scott responded “The insurance bill that I signed starts the process of moving Citizens insurance company from being the insurer of first resort to the insurer of last resort.”
The governor explained he wants Florida government out of the insurance business and private industry back in.
Lynne McChristian, who works for the Insurance Information Institute (III) explained further. Her organization is a non profit insurance education operation that doesn’t lobby.
“I’m not here to sell you anything.” she assured us.
McChristian told us insurers are losing money in Florida due to strict regulation. This bill reverses that.
Still, we pressed her on State Farms 1.8 billion in profits last year.
She said that that was profits from all 50 states, not just Florida.
“If insurance companies were making good profits in Florida you would be able to buy insurance coverage from any company that you wanted to.” McChristian said.
McChristian then pointed out sinkholes were a major part of Florida’s problem. Where are the sinkholes? McChristian, even the Governor explained tiny cracks in the ground have been considered sinkholes up until now. Insurance companies were helpless but to pay them or risked being sued.
“They don’t actually fix their homes so was it really a problem or not? Scott said.
The Governor told us this is just the beginning of insurance reform. It might not make homeowners footing the bill happy.
The new policies and rates start immediately.