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Florida Taxwatch Supports Gallagher, Legislative Push to Increase the Availability of Homeowners Insurance

4/16/2004

CONTACT: Tami Torres
(850) 251-6293

TALLAHASSEE -Florida TaxWatch President & CEO Dominic Calabro said today that he supports Chief Financial Officer Tom Gallagher and state lawmakers in their efforts to increase the availability of homeowners insurance through changes to the Florida's Hurricane Catastrophe (Cat) Fund. The Cat Fund was created after Hurricane Andrew to ensure that Florida's insurance companies could quickly pay homeowners claims after a major hurricane and continue to provide coverage.


"Strengthening the Cat Fund is about preparing for hurricanes and funding the inevitable losses at the lowest possible cost. This legislation is good public policy for Florida's insurance consumers and will help protect Florida's economy from a meltdown if we are faced with another Andrew," said Calabro, who published a letter from Gallagher about the legislation in Ideas in Action, a public forum used by TaxWatch to discuss vital issues affecting the economy and public policy. The letter can be accessed at http://floridataxwatch.org/resources/pdfs/ideasInAction/IdeasInAction%20TG.pdf.

La legislación, promovida por el Senador J.D. Alexander y el Representante Kim Berfield, reforzaría el fondo CAT aumentando su capacidad de $11 mil millones hasta $15 mil millones. La ley financia la capacidad extra, al incluir pólizas no reguladas de líneas excendentes, que compran principalmente los propietarios de viviendas grandes a lo largo de la costa, en base al gravamen. También aumenta los límites de los gravámenes del 4 al 6 por ciento, lo cual se produce solamente cuando golpea una tormenta terrible y se necesita dinero para pagar las reclamaciones que exceden la capacidad del fondo.


"Florida's Hurricane Catastrophe Fund is critical to having a stable and viable property insurance market in our state," said Gallagher, who oversees the state's Department of Financial Services. "The dilemma is that the Cat Fund has not kept up with Florida's rate of growth nor with inflation. If this fund is going to continue to provide protection for Florida's homeowners and our economy, we need to allow it to catch up with Florida's growing population."

"Homeowners are becoming increasingly frustrated by the lack of available and affordable coverage and are looking to policymakers for solutions," said Sen. Alexander. "Strengthening the Cat Fund will encourage the private market to write more coverage and reduce the state's role in providing insurance."

"Without the Cat Fund, there would be no homeowners insurance market in Florida," said Rep. Berfield, who chairs the House Insurance Committee. "Those who live here and move here deserve access to a viable and competitive insurance market. Making needed changes to the CAT Fund gives them a fighting chance."

El Fondo CAT actualmente proporciona $11 mil millones de capacidad, o reaseguro, a la industria del seguro. Se ha limitado la posibilidad de tener acceso a un reaseguro privado, que es un seguro para las compañías de seguro, en los últimos años. Como resultado de ello, muchas compañías de seguro en la Florida se han mostrado renuentes a emitir coberturas o han reducido su exposición no renovando las pólizas.

Gallagher dijo que la falta de reaseguro disponible en el mercado privado, asociada a la incapacidad que tiene el Fondo CAT para crecer con el mercado, ha dado como resultado que varios consumidores se vean forzados a ingresar en la Citizens Property Insurance Corporation, el asegurador del estado de último recurso para propietarios de viviendas que no pueden obtener cobertura en el mercado privado.

"Florida is now home to nearly 16 million people, and we hearing from homeowners daily who are frustrated with the lack of availability and the cost of insurance," said Gallagher. "Expanding the Cat Fund will promote needed competition in the marketplace by encouraging insurance companies to write more coverage for homeowners."


Florida TaxWatch is a non-partisan, non-profit government watchdog and taxpayers' research foundation supported entirely by voluntary tax-deductible membership contribution. Es la única organización dedicada totalmente a cuestiones impositivas y de gastos de la Florida.