About 90 minutes from my Tallahassee home is Wild Adventures, an amusement park. The name of this Valdosta, Georgia attraction reminds me of this last week’s legislative activities and you will see why as you scroll down in this edition to Bill Watch! To put you in the frame of mind to enjoy today’s newsletter, we wanted to remind you that we are now in the last week of session that will conclude this Friday, April 30.
I was in the Capitol at the request of a House member last week. He wants to learn more about the insurance marketplace and is even more intrigued with the current events that are strapping down our otherwise thriving property insurance arena. We discussed the Citizens Insurance rate increase in particular since he represents portions of Miami Dade. He was concerned about House Bill 305’s provisions that elevate Citizens’ rates by one percent per year over several years. I explained that most who follow Citizens public policy closely like we do will remember the 2009 quest to raise Citizens rates. I was the Florida Realtors association’s property insurance advocate at the time and while most real estate agents worry an increase in rates means a decrease in home sales, the incredible leadership at the time realized the long term benefits of the increases. At one point in the last decade, about 70% of Citizens’ policies were high enough so the consumer would find the private market attractive.
When I shared that story with this member that the goal is to have Citizens’ rates be a turnoff to policyholders so the customer would want to join the private market, the legislator got it and the proverbial lightbulb switched on. I shared that this is a long play and it may be painful for a year or two but it truly is best for our state. It was refreshing to see this legislator engage and ask thoughtful questions and by the end of our meeting he was finishing my sentences. When the Capitol opens to the public, hopefully in January 2022 for the next legislative session, I hope you will join me so we can continue to educate legislators and the light bulbs will continue to switch on!
Next up is last week’s wild rides and a preview of coming attractions: waiting, watching and wishing!