Floridians want to revisit the 2007 legislation and don't want "quick fixes", reveals a PCI poll

The Property Casualty Insurers Association of America (PCI) has unveiled the results of an independent statewide poll that sought insight into Floridians’ concerns about the state’s current property insurance climate and assessed their opinions about several alternative approaches to stabilising the property insurance market.

The poll of 800 likely Florida voters, conducted by Neil Newhouse of Public Opinion Strategies on January 20-22, demonstrated the need for continued dialogue between public policymakers, consumers, and insurers that focuses on meaningful long-term solutions to Florida’s property insurance problem.

The poll confirmed that homeowners insurance reform remains a top priority for Floridians and voters want the legislature to revisit the changes made to the property insurance system in 2007.

But when addressing these issues, consumers want to look at long-term solutions and innovative approaches instead of “quick fixes”.

PCI CEO and president David Sampson convened a meeting today in Tallahassee with the state’s top leaders in the business community to review the results of the poll and discuss how we can move forward together to seek meaningful long-term solutions.

“Floridians understand the delicate balance between long-term market stability and immediate rate relief,” said Sampson. “It is imperative for all of us – insurers, policymakers, and consumers – to work together to deliver the long-term market stability so important to the lives of individual consumers and the economic health of the entire state.

"Any realistic long-term solution needs to include the private market. The state and federal government can and should pay important roles, but government cannot solve the problem on its own.”

PCI commissioned the statewide survey in hopes that it would serve as a roadmap for lawmakers when dealing with the upcoming Session and the issue of homeowners insurance.

“We have been advocating for solutions that would revitalise the private market, and protect the state from further financial liability, while also encouraging stronger building codes and rates based on risk,” said Sampson. “We look forward to continuing to be a part of the discussion as Session convenes next week, and hope that this roadmap will serve as a resource that will lead to stronger homes, safer families and an insurance climate in Florida that will benefit all Floridians.”

In 2008, PCI is urging policymakers and stakeholders to consider market-based solutions to provide relief to consumers and begin restoring a healthy public private partnership approach to the property insurance system in Florida.

These include fostering a more robust catastrophe bond market; providing guaranteed low interest loans to policyholders who opt to purchase high deductible policies; providing financial assistance to low income consumers; offering financial incentives to build safer new homes and retrofit existing homes that can withstand the brunt of hurricanes or firestorms.

At the federal level, PCI supports changes in the federal tax code to allow insurers to build catastrophe reserves on a tax free basis, and the creation of a well-structured public/private partnership between insurers and the state and federal government to provide liquidity in the event of catastrophic loss hold the promise of responsibly spreading financial risk and stabilising markets.