We’ve written about Florida before – its governor, Jeb Bush showed how it’s supposed to be done. He led. Jeb is now retired, but members of the Florida state legislature are wasting no time picking up the leadership mantle.
NINE DOWN: 100 IDEAS GETS SPECIAL START~Nine Innovative Ideas for Florida’s Future dealing with insurance reform become law~TALLAHASSEE, FL – With a stroke of the Governor’s pen this morning, nine specific, citizen-driven ideas reforming Florida’s insurance market became law. The ideas were first proposed last year during the 100 Innovative Ideas for Florida’s Futureproject begun by Republican House leaders.“We’re ahead of schedule and more motivated than ever to fulfill the agenda Floridians wrote for us” said Speaker Marco Rubio (R-West Miami). “We appreciate this early start special session has provided, but there is still so much more to be done. Cutting property taxes, transforming Florida’s schools, and making Florida safer are all legislative priorities that Floridians have demanded. This is a great start, and we’re excited to continue showing that this truly is a model for reforming the way government does business.”
The ideas signed into law today are:Idea 55: Ensure all insurance companies provide appropriate, easily understood credits or discounts to homeowners engaging in hurricane mitigation.Idea 56: Consider adopting a uniform grading system for evaluating the hurricane strength of homes, allowing homeowners to become insured by the private market or to take full and appropriate advantage of the measures undertaken to fortify their homes.
Idea 57: Adopt a uniform statewide building code.
Idea 58: Allow the Florida Hurricane Catastrophe Fund to give companies the option to buy more reinsurance from the fund below the current retention and charge near-market rates.
Idea 59: Allow insurers to offer all homeowners policies with higher hurricane deductibles.
Idea 60: Permit policyholders to reduce their hurricane deductible if they implement meaningful and verifiable mitigation measures.
Idea 61: Create a comprehensive package of consumer protection that should include among other provisions, requiring a “Truth in Premium Billing” statement delineating the various components and prices of changes in premiums.
Idea 62: Ensure that insurance companies expedite payments for damages and consider expanding the short-term, no-interest bridge loan program.
Idea 63: Advocate for the federal government to establish a Federal Natural Catastrophe Reinsurance Fund, allow insurers to accumulate tax-deferred reserves for catastrophes, and create “Hurricane Savings Accounts.”“Republican principles begin with empowering individuals,” said House Majority Leader Marty Bowen (R-Winter Haven). “By providing Floridians with greater access to their legislators, and greater control over the legislative process, we’re ensuring that our priorities in Tallahassee reflect the priorities of families across Florida.”Additionally, the House last week passed House Memorial 11A, sponsored by Deputy Majority Leader Adam Hasner (R-Delray Beach) which urges Congress to support a National Catastrophe Reinsurance Program and creates a National State Summit on Property Insurance between Florida, other high risk states, and elected and appointed leaders from the federal government.
“There is no industry, no lobbyist, and no special interest that can stand up to the collective will of Floridians” said Deputy Leader Adam Hasner. “We’re applying the momentum gained by addressing the insurance crisis toward attacking rising property taxes, and confidence is rising that further relief for homeowners is on the way.”
Idea 96 deals with constitutionally eliminating or capping skyrocketing property taxes.
Throughout 2006, Republican lawmakers in Florida met statewide with constituents at “Idearaisers,” meetings in which citizens expressed their concerns and suggested solutions. Legislators took suggestions from the people and the ideas were transformed into clear policy solutions and legislative priorities. 100 Innovative Ideas for Florida’s Future has been adopted in other states, including Iowa (99 Ideas to Energize Iowa’s Future) and Georgia (Georgiaspeaks: Creative Ideas for Georgia’s Future).