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Insurance Journal: Specter of Charlie Crist Could Hinder Citizens' Reform

February 14, 2013 - 6:00pm

A writer with the Insurance Journal is warning readers that the return of Charlie Crist to the governors mansion should make industry insiders -- especially those seeking to downsize Citizens Property Insurance Corp. -- just a little bit nervous.

And the belief is some legislators -- in looking ahead to the 2014 gubernatorial contest -- will back off reforms, which have been called for by business groups and Florida Chief Financial Officer Jeff Atwater.

In an article titled Ghost of Charlie Crist Haunts Insurance Reform, Christian Cara argues that rates must be raised on Citizens customers, especially those in high-risk coastal areas in order to offset a looming crisis that could result in larger increases to bail out Citizens and the state Catastrophe Fund after a future storm.

And Cara contends that such action would open the door to Charlie Crist demagoguing the issue, as he did in 2006 and 2007.

Here is the given: Charlie Crist will take any opportunity to demagogue any issue, Cara writes.

If reforms that increase rates are enacted, he will demagogue the increase in rates. Conversely, if nothing is done and a hurricane strikes, he will demagogue and blame the ensuing failures of Citizens, the Cat Fund and the states overall insurance system on Governor Rick Scott and the current Legislature, even though it was Crist himself who triggered the time bomb years prior.

While in office, Crist-- well-rumored to be eyeing a gubernatorial run in 2014 --froze Citizens' insurance rates and mandated affordable coverage --moves which saved homeowners millions of dollars.

Meanwhile, Gov. Rick Scott, who has advocated for keeping costs down for Floridians, hasnt made specific overtures toward Citizens costs other than a need to downsize the company. A leaner Citizens, if the rates are also made more compatible with the private market, would then be expected to draw more insurance firms to Florida.

Read more here.

Reach Jim Turner at or at (772) 215-9889.

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