Fla. Senate approves changes to state-run insurer

Sen. David Simmons
Sen. David Simmons

Florida lawmakers approved major reforms to state-run Citizens Property Insurance Corp. in a Senate vote Thursday, the Miami Herald reported. The bill would push up prices for new policyholders and “steer” current policyholders into the private market, the Herald reported.

The debate over the bill dragged two weeks over concerns about substantial rate hikes. Trade group Florida Realtors went to Tallahassee in February to lobby for “sustainable and affordable” property insurance, as The Real Deal reported.

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Coastal property owners have seen their property insurance costs soar in recent years at a cost to consumers of hundreds of millions of dollars, the newspaper said. The reform would reduce Citizens’ coverage limits from $1 million to $500,000 over five years.

The bill’s sponsor, Sen. David Simmons, a Republican from Altamonte Springs, said rates have to be “actuarially sound” though a price hike for current policyholders would be capped at 10 percent.

The bill has been amended 35 times and now heads to the Florida House of Representatives. [Miami Herald]Emily Schmall