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Fl lawmakers want to move Citizens policyholders into private market

By Tom Flanigan

http://stream.publicbroadcasting.net/production/mp3/wfsu/local-wfsu-992206.mp3

Tallahassee, FL – Citizens Property Insurance customers may have a better chance a private insurer will be looking for their business. Tom Flanigan reports a Florida House subcommittee has approved a bill that could prompt more of those companies to go into the "take-out" business .

State lawmakers have been trying to figure out how to speed up what's called the "de-population" of Citizens. The state-backed insurer remains the biggest policy writer in Florida and is badly overexposed. Republican Representative Jim Boyd of Bradenton's bill would encourage more private insurers to go after Citizen's customers, a process called "take-out."

"If the policy holder chooses to stay with Citizens, that's an option that they are allowed to make and they are not required to accept the take-out offer."

Miami Beach Democrat Rick Steinberg wanted assurances those customers would be given enough information to make an informed decision.

"Does the person have to be told that the rates are going to be unregulated versus Citizens or other insurers that are currently able to do this that are all regulated?"

Boyd answered there are lots of ways to find out how insurance rates and coverage differs from company to company. The House Insurance and Banking Subcommittee went on to pass Boyd's bill.