Citizens to require shutters on vulnerable, pricey homes

Published May 4, 2007

TALLAHASSEE - Homeowners whose dwellings are insured for $750, 000 or more in Pinellas County and other coastal areas will need hurricane shutters to get insured by Citizens Property Insurance Corp. beginning July 1, 2008.

The Legislature sent to the governor a bill designed to force those in pricey coastal homes to fortify against hurricanes. But the measure was so watered down that its sponsor, Sen. Bill Posey, said he's not satisfied and plans to continue to push for more widespread fortification in coming years.

"No, I'm not satisfied, but it's the best we can do this year, " said Posey, a Rockledge Republican.

The House bill passed the mitigation package by 90-28 Thursday, with Republicans and Democrats in coastal areas opposing it. The governor has indicated he supported the idea.

The mandate for buying shutters affects policyholders who live in homes insured for $750, 000 in the state's wind-borne debris region - west of U.S. 19 in Citrus, Hernando and Pasco counties and all of Pinellas. It also affects those in similarly pricey homes in the wind zone who want to take out a building permit for any activity, such as a home renovation, estimated to cost $50, 000 or more.

Posey's earlier version of the bill, which stalled Monday, had the insured value of a home at $300, 000 and no value limit on building permits.