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Coalition: Out-of-staters, BYOI (bring your own insurance)!

Mon Sep 23rd, 2013 on     Homeowners Insurance,    

Florida consumers and businesses are rallying to convince lawmakers to tackle one of the many proposals dropped from the insurance reform bill during the last legislative session. The Stronger Safer Florida Coalition is asking that the state no longer subsidize insurance for property owners who live outside of Florida.

The coalition estimates that 180,000 policyholders of Citizens Property Insurance Corp. live outside of the state or the country. The properties in question are likely second homes, the coalition says. Chances are that those property owners can afford private homeowners insurance, that they do not need the coverage provided by the state’s insurer of last resort.

To prove the point, the National Association of Realtors reports that 90 percent of Canadian citizens purchasing property in Florida pay cash. It is simply unfair to allow wealthy individuals with second homes or investment properties along the coast to take advantage of state-subsidized insurance rates, according to the American Consumer Institute Center for Citizen Research.

Citizens has been downsizing its policyholder population, as we discussed in our Sep. 7, 2013, post. The insurer’s objective is to shed policies that can be placed with private insurers, all as a means to becoming, truly, the insurer of last resort to Florida property owners. The question of targeting out-of-state and foreign policyholders specifically, though, is not up to Citizens, according to a spokesperson.

That decision is up to the Florida Legislature.

During the last session, lawmakers considered making non-resident policyholders ineligible for coverage. They also considered rate hikes that would put non-resident coverage on a par with coverage offered by the top 20 private insurers in those territories. In the end, neither provision passed.

The coalition, however, will push legislators to address the issue in the coming session.

Citizens estimated last spring that 168,000 policyholders had primary residences outside of Florida; 25,000 policyholders lived outside the U.S. in places like Canada, Europe and China.

Source: Insurance Journal, “Groups Object to Florida’s Citizens Insuring Out-of-State Policyholders,” Michael Adams, Sep. 18, 2013

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