St. Petersburg Times: The Insurance Crisis
tampabay.com
photo
[Times photo: Scott Keeler]
Carla Bernhardt of Tampa, center, and Nancy Swift of St. Petersburg, right, protest on the steps of Florida's Old Capitol building for lower insurance rates on Jan. 16, the opening day of the Legislature's special session in Tallahassee.

PROPERTY INSURANCE RESOURCES
It's Your Times: Submit your questions about the new legislation
Citizens Property Insurance Web site
Property and Casualty Joint Underwriting Association Web site
Comment on Citizens Property Insurance
Florida Office of Insurance Regulation
Insurance Reform Committee
Department of Financial Services/My Safe Florida Home
Contact your state representatives
Contact your state senators
Interative map on average insurance rate savings - NEW!

RATES AND REFORM
Insurance 'glitches' tweaked
By Jennifer Liberto, Times Staff Writer
The House is expected to pass changes to parts of the new property insurance law.
Go to article (3/29)

24% rate drop just a dream; nightmare is back
By TOM ZUCCO
How quickly the hope of homeowner relief faded.
Go to article (3/18)

Premium profits for insurers
By KRIS HUNDLEY
As skies cleared, the coffers filled in 2006 for Florida’s home insurers.
Go to article (3/18)

Insurance law 'glitches' put lobbyists in mood to tweak
By JENNIFER LIBERTO
Industry representatives work to alter the rules passed in January.
Go to article (3/14)

Storm shutters seen as insurance fix within reach
By REBECCA CATALANELLO
Legislators on Tuesday spent much of their discussion focused on storm shutters.
Go to article (3/14)

Insurance savings shrink
By TOM ZUCCO
Cuts for property will be well under what the state had promised.
Go to article (3/13)

Insurance crisis fixed? Check your mailbox
By TOM ZUCCO
The moratorium is over, about 25,000 Nationwide customers are finding.
Go to article (3/8)

For many, little drop in insurance
By Tom Zucco
The two largest insurers have relatively cheap reinsurance, so there will be less savings to pass along.
Go to article, map (3/3)

Rate rollback skips condos
By TOM ZUCCO
The law may stay some increases, but many condo dwellers will be hit again.
Go to article (2/21)

Insurers can drop policies
By Tom Zucco
Homeowners once warned of cancellation are again at risk.
Go to article (2/20)

Insurer wants to cut rates
By Helen Huntley
State Farm says customers who eliminate PIP coverage can save about 16 percent.
Go to article (2/20)

Insurers sue over new rule
By Jennifer Liberto
A group of insurance companies has gone to court to reclaim their right to cancel homeowners policies, which the Florida Cabinet suspended.
Go to article (2/14)

Insurers' loopholes shut
By Tom Zucco
The state Cabinet approves a noncancellation rule and a rate freeze.
Go to article (1/31)

Victory declared yet homeowners fret
By Alex Leary and Kris Hundley
Euphoria in Tallahassee gives way to reality of smaller savings than many had hoped for.
Go to article (1/24)

Legislators play odds to reduce premiums
By Jennifer Liberto
The Florida Legislature promised to lower homeowners insurance premiums as long as no major hurricanes hit the state.
Go to article (1/23)

How much you will save is still unclear
By Joni James And Tom Zucco
Homeowners may not know for months exactly how they will benefit from the insurance plan the Florida Legislature approved Monday.
Go to article (1/23)

Reform a win for Crist
By Steve Bousquet
Gov. Charlie Crist didn't get all he wanted on insurance relief from the Legislature, but he says he got enough to keep his promise of lower rates.
Go to article (1/23)

Session strikes a deal
By Joni James
Florida lawmakers emerged from weekend negotiations with an insurance reform plan that promises double-digit rate relief by shifting hurricane risk to the state.
Go to article (1/22)

Insurance crisis personal for dozens of lawmakers
By Jennifer Liberto and Alex Leary
Republican Rep. David Rivera, R-Miami, faced a $4,000 insurance rate hike due on Christmas when his Miami home was dumped by his private insurer.
Go to article (1/21)

Sinkhole policies may change
By David Decamp
While insurers bemoan their troubles with Florida lawmakers this week, they stand to win at least one fight.
Go to article (1/20)

Despite tension, insurance talks go on
By Tom Zucco
Negotiations over plans to ease Florida's property insurance crisis nearly broke down Friday.
Go to article (1/20)

For $11M, what will insurance lobby get?
By Alex Leary and Connie Humburg
That's how much the industry just spent on political contributions. But will it help them?
Go to article (1/19)

CFO tries to keep rate cuts sensible
By Jennifer Liberto
As insurance ideas swirl in Tallahassee, Alex Sink tries to be the voice of reason.
Go to article (1/19)

Insurers told: All or none
By Jennifer Liberto and
Joni James

Florida lawmakers appear ready to deliver on one of Gov. Charlie Crist's campaign promises to punish insurers who have retreated from the state's property market while still writing other insurance in the Sunshine State, such as auto.
Go to article (1/18)

Insurance superfund attracts interest
By Tom Zucco and Jennifer Liberto
The plan would limit losses for insurers by shifting the burden for massive storm damage.
Go to article (1/17)

From across state, they came to be heard
By David Decamp
They wore armbands of blue masking tape. They waved dozens of signs.
Go to article (1/17)

Seven days to fix insurance
By Tom Zucco, Jennifer Liberto and Joni James
A special session starting today may not be enough to settle on substantive reforms.
Go to article (1/16)

Crist proposes barring insurers from dropping policies for 4 years
By Joni James
Little noticed in the runup to this week's special legislative session on insurance: Gov. Charlie Crist wants lawmakers to ban private insurers from canceling existing homeowner's policies for up to four years.
Go to article (1/16)

Crist sets stage for insurance rate cuts
By Steve Bousquet
For Tuesday's special session, the governor frames the debate this way: Lawmakers are either for consumers, or against them.
Go to article (1/14)

Crist: Make sure rates fall
By Jennifer Liberto and Steve Bousquet
With competing insurance proposals from the House and Senate already laid out in complex detail, Gov. Charlie Crist on Thursday offered lawmakers a simple goal for compromise: lower premiums.
Go to article (1/12)

One insurer not running from the risk
By Tom Zucco
But State Farm Florida officials say they are worried about the impact of the proposed sweeping changes in the Legislature.
Go to article (1/12)

Allstate backtracks on rate hike request
By Tom Zucco
Last month, it wanted a 19 percent jump for homeowners. Now it's asking for half that.
Go to article (12/13)

Higher risk buys lower premium
By Alex Leary
Looking to lower insurance costs, members of the Florida House want to give homeowners the option to take on more risk for rebuilding after a hurricane.
Go to article (12/7)

In insurance limbo
By Tom Zucco
There is a Citizens-like plan for businesses, but many can't afford it.
Go to article (12/6)

Plan stirs outrage
By Tom Zucco and David Decamp
A proposal for Citizens to raise rates brings calls for a legislative fix.
Go to article (11/18)

Cancellation coincidence?
By Tom Zucco
Liberty Mutual dropped his home soon after he canceled his auto policy.
Go to article (11/14)

Insurers' crystal ball
By Tom Zucco
Computer models, the tools that provide the statistical data upon which rates are determined, are in the center of Florida's latest storm.
Go to article (11/5)

State homes to get cash for storms
By the Associated Press
Florida will get more than $100-million from the federal government to help bolster houses against hurricane winds.
Go to article (10/27)

Insurers win. Guess who loses?
By Tom Zucco
Policyholders thought returning to Citizens would save them money. Not likely.
Go to article (10/17)

Who's looking out for us?
By Tom Zucco
A panel of 15 is trying to fix the property insurance crisis. Trouble is, most have ties to the industry.
Go to article (9/18)

The Property and Casualty Insurance Reform Committee
By Times Staff
The Property and Casualtty Insurance Reform Committee
Go to article (9/18)

 
[Times photo: Scott Keeler]
From left, Gov. Charlie Crist, Lt. Gov. Jeff Kottkamp, CFO Alex Sink, and Senate President Ken Pruitt celebrate the passage Jan. 23 of an insurance bill to lower rates.

CITIZENS INSURANCE
Crist nudges bill toward vote
By JENNIFER LIBERTO
A bill to strengthen Citizens Property Insurance Corp. passes in the state Senate. Now the House must consider it.
Go to article (4/10)

Crist pushes Citizens changes
By JENNIFER LIBERTO
He asks legislators to consider a bill expanding the insurer's presence.
Go to article (4/4)

Citizens has new mission: compete
By TOM ZUCCO
The insurer cuts rates and is allowed to fight private companies for more business.
Go to article (3/27)

New storm for Citizens
By TOM ZUCCO
It's not a new hurricane slamming the insurer. It's new law that may leave it less able to pay claims.
Go to article (3/1)

Citizens refund checks are coming
By the Associated Press
Policyholders can take heart - the refimd checks are coming.
Go to article (2/14)

Citizens a better neighbor?
By Tom Zucco
The state-run homeowners insurer prepares for a flood of new customers, many from State Farm, under new rules.
Go to article (1/26)

Citizens says it's ready for the task
By Tom Zucco
Its chairman says the insurer can cut rates and still expand its role in the market.
Go to article (1/23)

Rate freeze comes with risks
By Tom Zucco
It seems like a quick and easy way for Florida lawmakers to fulfill a promise and give immediate rate relief to 1.3-million of the state's policyholders.
Go to article (1/18)

Rate hikes won't stick
By Jennifer Liberto and Joni James
At least one thing seems likely to come out of next week's special legislative session on homeowner's insurance: Citizens Property Insurance policyholders will be spared two big rate hikes scheduled for early this year.
Go to article (1/11)

Citizens looks to expand coverage
By Tom Zucco
If offered more complete policies, homeowners could see 25 percent savings.
Go to article (1/10)

A day of confrontation, rare approval for insurers
By Tom Zucco
After months of wrangling, state regulators in Tallahassee on Tuesday approved a property insurance rate increase of 8.2 percent on average statewide for both Allstate Floridian and Allstate Floridian Indemnity insurance companies.
Go to article (12/20)

Here's your chance to vent
A meeting on Dec. 19 will give homeowners a chance to sound off about Citizens Property Insurance's ever-rising rates.
Go to article (12/14)

Citizens rate hike is put on hold
By Tom Zucco
A decision to delay a steep premium rise drops the matter into lawmakers' laps.
Go to article (12/8)

New site asks for suggestions
By Tom Zucco
Go ahead, tell the state insurer what you really think. That's the purpose of its new Web access.
Go to article (11/28)

Citizens chief resists rate hike
By Tom Zucco
If he has a rubber stamp, Bruce Douglas doesn't intend to use it. Not this time.
Go to article (11/23)

Citizens may seek record rate hike
By Tom Zucco
Most of Citizens Property Insurance Corp.'s 1.3-million policyholders could be hit by a proposed 55.8 percent average statewide rate increase starting March 1 because of a change in state law.
Go to article (11/17)

Citizens piles up risks, policies
By Tom Zucco
The state-run insurer projects more rate hikes and increased need for assessments.
Go to article (11/7)

Citizens' rate cut has catch
By James Thorner
Homeowners could lower costs, but they would have to drop sinkhole coverage.
Go to article (10/27)

Citizens plan could cut rates
By David Decamp
The state's Citizens Property Insurance proposes letting customers drop sinkhole coverage from their policies.
Go to article (9/30)

A fight over sinking homes
By Leonora Lapeter
Some homeowners in St. Petersburg say sinkholes are dooming their houses. Insurers are not so sure.
Go to article (9/25)

Citizens Insurance to discuss sinkholes
By Tom Zucco
The Citizens Property Insurance board will consider a proposal today that could offer some rate relief to owners of homes in Florida counties affected by sinkholes, Citizens president Bob Ricker said Wednesday.
Go to article (6/22)

State insurer has a fight on its hands
By Tom Zucco
Homeowners across the state are banding together to protest Citizens and the high cost of property insurance.
Go to article (5/24)

Citizens poised to be top insurer
By Tom Zucco
The state-run insurer of last resort is projected to become the state's biggest as private companies continue to drop policies.
Go to article (5/20)

Infusion will prop up Citizens
By Jennifer Liberto
The state House and Senate move on different bills with the same intention: cash for the insurer of last resort.
Go to article (4/18)

An extra $1-billion may bail Citizens
By Jennifer Liberto
Economists find even more extra money in the state's budget than they thought was there, and homeowner's insurance bills may benefit.
Go to article (4/13)

MITIGATION
Shutters may no longer be optional
By TOM ZUCCO and JENNIFER LIBERTO
A bill would require homeowners to buy storm protection in order to get any type of building permit.
Go to article (4/10)

State committee needs input from owners
By Len Bonifield
The cost of homeowners insurance has become prohibitive.
Go to article (9/30)

Panel moves beyond theory
By Tom Zucco
Concrete proposals are offered as the state looks to revise an insurance industry in deep crisis.
Go to article (9/8)

Expo urges storm preparation
By Melanie Ave
As Tropical Storm Ernesto chugged through the Caribbean Saturday threatening to become a hurricane, dozens of concerned Floridians came to hear how they can be better prepared for a storm.
Go to article (8/27)

For storm upgrade, only small savings
By Tom Zucco
The state's new hurricane mitigation program promises lower insurance rates to those who make their homes storm-proof. But nobody told insurers how much the savings had to be.
Go to article (8/16)

Insurance idea helps owners who fortify
By Tom Zucco
A state reform committee focuses on a program that will give most Florida homeowners matching funds to strengthen their homes against storms.
Go to article (8/9)

Guidance before a natural disaster
By Emily Nipps
A little-known Tampa institute that works to minimize loss of life and property is now a top resource for emergency preparedness.
Go to article (7/10)

Brace yourself for hurricanes
By Joni James
The season starts June 1, but a new program to help homeowners prepare won't be ready for 45 to 60 days.
Go to article (5/17)


COMMENTARY
Property coverage costs too much and is too hard to get. What to do?
By TOM ZUCCO
For a better Florida: Issues facing the 2007 Legislature.
Go to article (2/18)

The insurance fix
Times Editorial
In just seven days, Gov. Charlie Crist and the Florida Legislature crafted a more pragmatic approach to easing the property insurance crisis than the last governor and Legislature produced all of last year.
Go to article (1/23)

'Real people' in Capitol refreshing
By Steve Bousquet
Day after day, real people kept coming, waving handmade signs and wearing "insurance reform now" buttons.
Go to article (1/20)

The results: a freeze, a scam and a big tradeoff
By Howard Troxler
A few things are swimming into better focus from this week's special session.
Go to article (1/19)

They're all fired up to do ... something
By Howard Troxler
This is weird. For once, there are more citizens than lobbyists around the Capitol in this week's special session of our Legislature.
Go to article (1/16)

How not to fix insurance
Times Editorial
What a difference a year - and an election - makes in Tallahassee. The 2006 effort by Gov. Jeb Bush and the Legislature to address the property insurance crisis was a market-driven approach heavily influenced by the industry. It did not stabilize rates or slow policy cancellations or lure large private insurers back into the Florida market in a year with no significant hurricanes.
Go to article (1/14)

Citizens bill only justifies insurers' high rate requests
By Sen. Mike Fasano
Citizens Property Insurance Corp. is not required to buy the reinsurance, and has no plans to do so. It is simply required to pass along the fictitious costs to Floridians as if they were purchasing reinsurance.
Go to article (12/10)

On insurance, go for bold
Times Editorial
Gov.-elect Charlie Crist and legislative leaders made the right call on Wednesday to schedule a special session in mid January to tackle the property insurance crisis.
Go to article (11/30)

Close insurer loophole
Times Editorial
Smaller insurers can charge rates far higher than Citizens', and home owners have no recourse. That must change.
Go to article (9/30)

Insurance crisis imperils a dream
By Mary Partington
I'm not going back. I want to keep my Florida home and my dream of a retirement spent in the sunshine.
Go to article (9/27)