The readers’ forum

Depopulating Citizens will reduce our risks


Some welcome winds of change are finally blowing into the state-run Citizens Property Insurance. Fed by artificially low, actuarially unsound rates, Citizens has grown into Florida’s largest property insurer and put the 77 percent of non-Citizens homeowners, plus all businesses, charities, religious institutions, local governments and school boards at risk.

Should a large storm or series of storms hit Florida, hurricane tax assessments will be imposed on all Florida policyholders, whether they are insured by Citizens or not. These taxes would extend to other types of policies, too, including automobile and renters. Recent moves by the Citizens Board of Governors to transfer policies to the private market will significantly diminish the risk of these assessments.

The responsible decision was made to “depopulate” Citizens by putting plans in place to transfer policies to the private sector. Many of these are among the highest risk policies in some of the most hurricane-exposed areas of the state. This is a positive step forward that Associated Industries of Florida (AIF) hopes will signal the beginning of a broader movement toward returning Citizens to an insurer of last resort.

Every policy we move from Citizens back into the private property insurance market means a reduced threat of hurricane taxes levied on Florida businesses. As the “Voice of Florida Business,” AIF supports any effort to alleviate the tax burden on businesses and enable them to dedicate more resources to job creation and economic growth.

Depopulating Citizens Property Insurance through fair and transparent mechanisms makes perfect sense for the state, but it’s not the only fiscally sound possibility to reduce risks. Citizens should continue to expand its investment in risk transfer, shifting its risk away from the state and our taxpayers and into the global private markets. Citizens buys less reinsurance, on a proportional basis, of any state residual market entity, and its unfunded sister entity, the Florida Hurricane Catastrophe Fund, is unique in buying none. These purchases benefit Floridians by reducing the risk of hurricane taxes, and benefits Citizens beneficiaries by increasing the certainty that their claims will actually be paid.

Florida needs to explore every viable option for the inevitable day when disaster strikes again. We have been fortunate these past seven hurricane seasons and have dodged the proverbial bullet, but luck is not a plan and will inevitably run out.

As we prepare our families, homes and businesses this hurricane season, so must the state. Continued depopulation of Citizens, rapid implementation of the Citizens policy clearinghouse established by the Legislature and approved by Gov. Rick Scott, and continued investment on risk transfer is the best hurricane-preparedness strategy for our state.

Thomas C. Feeney III, president and CEO, Associated Industries

of Florida, Tallahassee

Read more Letters to the Editor stories from the Miami Herald

Natalie Altman

    The readers’ forum

    Aging gracefully? No way!

    I want to comment on Ms. Gina Barreca’s July 19 Other Views column on aging. She’s writing from the perspective of a 57-year-old woman; I’m 75. My perspective is living the process:

  • Keep Beckham

    What are mayors of Miami and Miami-Dade doing while Broward Mayor Barbara Sharief is getting a list of possible homes for the Beckham Group’s soccer franchise from all of that county’s 31 cities? After getting the thumbs-down on at least two port and downtown Miami possible venues, it would appear that wise government leaders in Broward are going into full-court press mode to lure the MLS star to make that county his home. It is time for the powers that be in both Miami and Miami-Dade to understand they don’t have a lock on this valuable sports venture. There’s still time left to take the Beckham Group more seriously.

  • Miami Shores vote

    Miami Shores residents Clark Reynolds and Dennis Leyva said in their July 24 letter to the editor that it took courage for Councilwoman Ivonne Ledesma and me to vote for a nonbinding resolution supporting marriage equality in Florida. While I appreciate the compliment, in 2008 when our state approved a constitutional amendment prohibiting gay folks from marrying, Miami Shores voters said “no” to this nonsense when 62 percent of our voters voted for marriage equality. Mayor Herta Holly, Councilmen Jim McCoy and Hunt Davis are the ones who should be singled out for voting against the interests of our wonderful village.

Miami Herald

Join the

The Miami Herald is pleased to provide this opportunity to share information, experiences and observations about what's in the news. Some of the comments may be reprinted elsewhere on the site or in the newspaper. We encourage lively, open debate on the issues of the day, and ask that you refrain from profanity, hate speech, personal comments and remarks that are off point. Thank you for taking the time to offer your thoughts.

The Miami Herald uses Facebook's commenting system. You need to log in with a Facebook account in order to comment. If you have questions about commenting with your Facebook account, click here.

Have a news tip? You can send it anonymously. Click here to send us your tip - or - consider joining the Public Insight Network and become a source for The Miami Herald and el Nuevo Herald.

Hide Comments

This affects comments on all stories.

Cancel OK

  • Marketplace

Today's Circulars

  • Quick Job Search

Enter Keyword(s) Enter City Select a State Select a Category