Miami-Dade Legislative Item
File Number: 132272
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File Number: 132272 File Type: Resolution Status: Adopted
Version: 0 Reference: R-954-13 Control: Board of County Commissioners
File Name: URGING CITIZENS INSURANCE REFORM Introduced: 11/12/2013
Requester: NONE Cost: Final Action: 11/19/2013
Agenda Date: 11/19/2013 Agenda Item Number: 11A4
Notes: Title: RESOLUTION URGING THE FLORIDA LEGISLATURE AND GOVERNOR TO FIND SOLUTIONS TO CONTROL CITIZENS PROPERTY INSURANCE CORPORATION’S EXPENSES AND ATTORNEYS’ FEES, AND TO ADDRESS CITIZENS’ RESERVES IN LIGHT OF THE FACT THAT FLORIDA HAS NOT EXPERIENCED A MAJOR STORM SINCE 2005
Indexes: URGING
Sponsors: Rebeca Sosa, Prime Sponsor
  Lynda Bell, Co-Sponsor
  Audrey M. Edmonson, Co-Sponsor
  Sally A. Heyman, Co-Sponsor
Sunset Provision: No Effective Date: Expiration Date:
Registered Lobbyist: None Listed


Legislative History

Acting Body Date Agenda Item Action Sent To Due Date Returned Pass/Fail

Board of County Commissioners 11/19/2013 11A4 Adopted P

County Attorney 11/12/2013 Assigned Michael B. Valdes 11/12/2013

Legislative Text


TITLE
RESOLUTION URGING THE FLORIDA LEGISLATURE AND GOVERNOR TO FIND SOLUTIONS TO CONTROL CITIZENS PROPERTY INSURANCE CORPORATION’S EXPENSES AND ATTORNEYS’ FEES, AND TO ADDRESS CITIZENS’ RESERVES IN LIGHT OF THE FACT THAT FLORIDA HAS NOT EXPERIENCED A MAJOR STORM SINCE 2005

BODY

WHEREAS, the Florida Legislature created Citizens Property Insurance Corporation (“Citizens”) as a non-profit, tax-exempt home insurance provider because private insurers were unwilling or unable to provide affordable property insurance coverage to Florida homeowners; and
WHEREAS, Citizens currently insures approximately one out of every five homes in Florida, and often functions as an insurer of last resort to many Floridians; and
WHEREAS, Fla. Stat. § 627.351(6) states that the purpose of Citizens is to increase the availability of affordable property insurance in Florida, while achieving efficiencies and economies of scale; and
WHEREAS, media coverage and government reports have shown that Citizens has recently mismanaged its finances while undertaking efforts to raise premiums; and
WHEREAS, Citizens, for example, recently underwent a campaign to re-inspect over 400,000 homes in Florida, which resulted in raising rates for 72 percent of Citizens customers by more than $200 million per year or approximately $521.10 per household; and
WHEREAS, 58 percent of homeowners who have challenged their re-inspections have been successful at getting their bills reduced, and Citizens has already admitted error in at least 1,510 cases; and
WHEREAS, Citizens was also recently criticized by the state inspector general for its lavish spending practices, which included opulent travel accommodations to Bermuda and Europe for its employees and senior management; and
WHEREAS, the Governor and state legislators have already remarked that this unacceptable spending has shown that Citizens urgently needs to reform its policies on corporate expenses; and
WHEREAS, Citizens’ fiscal mismanagement has been further exemplified by its expense of approximately $2 million per month on attorneys’ fees; and
WHEREAS, a significant portion of these costs results from Citizens having to reimburse policyholders for their legal expenses after the policyholder has prevailed in court; and
WHEREAS, those legal fees may often exceed the value of the claim and therefore serve as an inefficient use of resources; and
WHEREAS, the CEO of Citizens has admitted that changes are needed to the way that Citizens handles its litigation because its lawyers were not adequately prepared for trial and disputes have taken too long to resolve thereby increasing legal fees; and
WHEREAS, these rate increases and excessive spending practices have come amidst a time where Citizens’ cash-on-hand ($6.2 billion) is at an all-time high due to the fact that there has not been a major storm in Florida since 2005; and
WHEREAS, Citizens overall risk exposure stands to be reduced even further because new state legislation will require that any homeowner currently insured through Citizens who can obtain a comparable insurance rate from a private insurer must switch to the private insurer starting in 2014,
NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED BY THE BOARD OF COUNTY COMMISSIONERS OF MIAMI-DADE COUNTY, FLORIDA, that this Board:
Section 1. Urges the Florida Legislature and Governor to find solutions to control Citizens Property Insurance Corporation’s expenses and attorneys’ fees, and to address Citizen’s reserves in light of the fact that there has not been a major storm in Florida since 2005.
Section 2. Directs the Clerk of the Board to transmit certified copies of the resolution to the Governor, Senate President, House Speaker, and the Chair and remaining members of the Miami-Dade State Legislative Delegation.
Section 3. Directs the County’s state lobbyists to advocate for the issues identified in Section 1 above, and authorizes and directs the Office of Intergovernmental Affairs to include this item in the 2014 State Legislative Package when it is presented to the Board.



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