According to a recent report by the insurance industry, corporate profits for U.S. property and casualty insurers rose 63 percent to $27 billion for the first nine months of 2010 from $16 billion for the same period in 2009. The report was prepared by the ISO and Property Casualty Insurers Association of America, which are some of the industry’s leading sources for economic news.
The report was national in scope and did not specifically address the insurance industry in Florida. Just this year, however, a number of home insurers have dropped their policies for many South Floridians claiming that it is too risky to insure them.
Nationwide, Insurance companies’ claims-paying reserves grew by 7 percent to $545 billion as of Sept. 30 from $511 billion at the end of 2009.
Next year Republicans in the Florida legislature plan to reintroduce a measure vetoed previously by Gov. Charlie Crist that would provide insurers with new ways to increase your rates and reduce how much they pay for claims-related expenses. Expect governor-elect Rick Scott to grant the insurance company’s wishes and for rates to start climbing.
Gov. Rick Scott overwhelmingly supports the insurance industry (at expense of the citizens of Florida) and wants to lift a 10 percent cap on rate hikes for state-backed Citizens Property Insurance, Florida’s largest insurer, to “level the playing field” for private companies. In other words, if you are a policy holder with Citizens, you can expect you rates to go up as soon as Rick Scott takes office.
Bill Newton, executive director of the Florida Consumer Action Network, said the new political climate (referring to Gov. Scott and the Republican dominated legislature) in Florida may be bad for consumers.
As as was the case so many times in the past in Florida, the insurance companies just need to cry “Wolf!” and the Republicans in Tallahassee are only to happy to give those guys whatever they want. Floridians need to be aware that there is no “insurance crisis” in Florida, nor is there a need to limit their rights to seek justice in a court of law. The unfortunate reality is that terms like “tort reform” are just a ruse for the insurance companies to charge us even more money and to increase their profits.
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