The Atlantic Hurricane Season is over and for the fifth straight year Florida emergency managers can breathe a sigh of relief.
“For the first time in recorded history this is now five years in a row that a hurricane has not hit Florida or struck the east coast of the United States,” said Dave Halstead of the Florida Emergency Management Department.
That means for half a decade Florida insurance companies haven’t had to pay massive claims, but it’s not all rosy.
Industry Expert Bob Lotane says rates are still too low to adequately prepare insurers for a major storm hitting a large city. “The insurance commissioner himself has testified to the cabinet that a majority of companies are not reserving money at the rate that they need to, to be ready for a hurricane.
Lawmakers want to make it easier for insurance companies to raise rates up to 10 percent a year.
Legislation loosening regulations on the industry landed on Governor Charlie Crist’s desk twice in the past two years and both times he vetoed the bills.
Crist has faith the war on insurance rates he started will continue. “I certainly hope for the people and myself that they continue to go down.”
But 2011 is likely to be different. A new governor and a GOP supermajority in the House and Senate could mean the legislation sails through the process, and insurance companies will no longer have to ask the state when they want an increase.
The legislation is already in the works and is expected to begin the committee process when lawmakers come back to Tallahassee next week.
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