WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. — An idea to try and lower insurance premiums by making Citizens Insurance bigger is drawing some doubts in Florida’s Capitol.
The proposal, from some Democratic lawmakers would expand Citizens to all Floridians but also limit Citizens coverage to wind only claims.
In theory that could allow private insurers to step in with coverage for everything else, except wind and possibly at lower costs.
“That to me is the start of the worst decision you can make in the state,” Florida Chief Financial Officer Jimmy Patronis said. “If you make the state of Florida the sole windstorm for the state of Florida, nobody will write windstorm, all they’ll do is write cars.”
Democrats in Tallahassee are submitting various ideas on lowering insurance, which mostly are getting a cool reaction to Republicans in control.
“There’s a bunch of us," State Sen. Tina Polsky, D-Boca Raton, said. "Democrats have some really good ideas of things to continue to do for the insurance market to lower premiums.”
Transforming Citizens into statewide wind coverage would be a big task and a reversal for the state insurer of last resort, which is trying to move more policy holders into private insurance in a take-out program.
“It is certainly a proposal that is out there, and the legislature and governor now will have to decide what to do,” Citizens CEO Tim Cerio said. “But the focus is continuing for Citizens to reduce its exposure; that will go drastically in the opposite direction.”