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State Farm Deadline Looming

June 22nd, 2009 by Mike Vasilinda

Before the week is out, Governor Charlie Crist must make a decision on the most watched bill of the legislative session. House Bill 1171 is an effort to keep State Farm in Florida by letting large insurance companies set their own rates. As Mike Vasilinda tells us, the governor faces the unenviable choice of angering hundreds of thousands of state farm customers, or potentially running new start up companies out of business.

It is called the consumer choice act. House Bill 1171 would let well-funded insurance companies bid for your business. State Farm agent Kathy Fain says consumers could decide if the price was worth the coverage.

If you dont want to pay the rates by a de-regulated company, then shop somewhere else, Fain said. Go somewhere else.

The measure was designed to keep State Farm writing policies in Florida. The company plans to stop writing a million of them over the next two years. In a letter to the governor last week, it said it would reevaluate its options if HB 1171 becomes law.

Insurance regulators say the companies are offering no guarantees.

Neither state farm nor any other insurance company in Florida has come to the commissioner and indicated that they plan to offer policies or stay in the state of Florida if HB1171 becomes law, Ed Domanksy with the Office of Insurance Regulation said.

A State Farm corporate spokesman declined to comment for this story. Read between the lines that they dont want to say anything to anger the governor.

Agent Dick Franklin says his future may be in the governors hands.

We realize that Governor Crist is politically the most powerful man in the state and we ask for him to make the right choice for the citizens of the state, Franklin said.

But, hedging her bets, Kathy Fains new bill boards offer great rates on auto insurance, but theres no mention of homeowners.

The Office of Insurance Regulation has told the governor the legislation could put many of the 40 new companies writing insurance in Florida at a disadvantage. So far, the governor has sent signals he is leaning toward a veto. He has until June 27th to act.

Posted in Business, Charlie Crist, Insurance, State News | 4 Comments »

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