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Senate Believes Some Insurers Lied

January 10th, 2008 by flanews

The insurance industry in Florida is once again under fire tonight. The state Senate has formed a 20-member committee that will force top insurance industry executives to testify under oath about why property rates haven’t dropped as promised. As Chris Casquejo tells us, the insurance industry says it’s ready.

Hear it Here: Senate Believes Some Insurers Lied

When a special session on insurance ended last year, rates were supposed to drop an average of 24 percent. But in most cases, consumers didn’t even see half that much. Now, lawmakers are demanding answers.

“Some insurers appear to have lied to the Florida Legislature,” said Sen. Steve Geller, a Democrat. “We want to find out exactly what happened. And we will.”

Lawmakers say most companies are following the law, but estimate that one in three are not.

The state took on $28 billion worth of risk when lawmakers reformed insurance laws last year. Now legislators want to know why the insurance industry has not kept its end of the deal.

Insurers say they’ll be ready to answer to lawmakers.

“We originally opposed the expansion of the CAT fund,” said William Stander of the Property Casualty Insurers Association of America. “We were not the ones who promised any rate decreases. Those promises came from the Legislature.”

State insurance regulators and legislators are working together to decide which insurers will testify.

“We took the risk. And they’re taking the profit. And that’s ending.” said Sen. Jeff Atwater, a Republican.

For lawmakers, 2008 begins much like 2007, with the insurance industry still public enemy number one.

The Senate Select Committee on Property Insurance Accountability will meet early next month. The insurance companies who are asked to testify will be revealed next week.

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