Florida taxpayers owe Citizens Insurance’s Binnun a debt of gratitude

NOTE: This wonkier than usual post for Reaganista.com originally appeared on the R Street Institute blog, but I figured I’d share.  Florida has lost a necessary expert on this very important issue.

Florida’s state-run Citizens Property Insurance Corp. announced earlier this week that Chief Financial Officer Sharron Binnun has resigned to take a job in the private sector. Her departure from Citizens is unfortunate, but ultimately unsurprising (more on that later).

During her six years as Citizens’ CFO, she conceived or supported several initiatives aimed at shoring-up the corporation’s finances and spreading its risk to the global capital and reinsurance markets, rather than relying on its authority to impose assessments (taxes) on essentially every Floridian to make up for the deficits it would inevitably incur after a sufficiently bad hurricane season. Continue reading

Ghost of Charlie Crist haunts upcoming session

It has been over two years since the adults regained control of Florida’s helm, yet the specter of the Charlie Crist days of demagoguery, populism-at-any-cost, and overall political buffoonery looms heavy over the state Capitol.

The idea that Charlie Crist wants to make a political comeback and pursue the office he once held—and neglected then abandoned in order to run for two other offices—has become common knowledge throughout Tallahassee.

The ambulance-chasing trial lawyer firm he works for does everything it can to promote him, including feature him on television ads and countless billboards across the state. He continues to chase photo-ops, pen op-eds, and do anything else he can to offer unsolicited pontifications on any political issue.

If there is an accelerated program that confers Democrat bona fides on someone, Charlie Crist has graduated from it with honors: as a newly-minted independent, he formally supported several Democrat office-seekers in 2012 (including backstabbing former allies), endorsed Barack Obama, was featured as an “independent” speaker at the Democratic National Convention, switched his party affiliation to Democrat after fulfilling the token “independent for Obama” role, and immediately following the Newtown, CT massacre, joined the chorus of Democrats calling for gun control, which is a far cry from his strong pro-Second Amendment record that earned him an A-Rating with the NRA.

This appears to complete his two-year political metamorphosis, which makes him ripe for a possible comeback as a Democrat.

And Legislators are aware of this. Continue reading

Free market reforms are only solution to state-run Citizens Property Insurance

As we at Reaganista have said before, if you’re a Floridian, you need to know and care about the property insurance situation in this state, because if it’s not reformed, it will cost you lots.

Albert Einstein once said “a new type of thinking is essential if mankind is to survive and move toward higher levels.” Or, as often paraphrased, we cannot solve our problems with the same thinking we used when we created them. Proponents of shrinking Citizens Property Insurance Corp. by paying private insurers to take out policies should heed that bit of wisdom.

Everyone agrees Citizens is too large and underfunded. This happened because back in 2007 the Backstaber Charlie Crist and the Legislature eased eligibility requirements and forced the government-owned company to lower its rates and keep them low. They did this with the full knowledge that Citizens would collect insufficient premium to cover losses after a bad hurricane season.  This put every Floridian at risk of massive post-hurricane taxes to make up any deficits Citizen may incur—taxes that would be levied on every policy including automobile, homeowners, renters, business, and even boaters insurance, which could add hundreds or thousands of dollars to the cost of insurance in Florida per year for many years. Continue reading

If a divided Congress can do it, why can’t the Florida Legislature?

Last week Congress passed legislation that would not only extend the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) for five more years, but would also allow a series of rate hikes to make the program more financially sound and offset some of its debt.

President Obama is expected to sign the legislation into law. #brokenclock

Had congress not taken action, the program would have sunset at the end of this month and flood insurance would have been rendered unavailable. This could have been catastrophic to the millions of Americans in flood-prone areas whose mortgage lenders require them to purchase insurance coverage for flood.

Thankfully, congress made the right decision in reauthorizing NFIP, as observers believed it would.  What is surprising, however, is that a divided congress would also do something fiscally responsible despite it being politically unpopular.

I’m referring, of course, to the provisions relating to NFIP’s rates, which the Florida Legislature may want to take note of. Continue reading

Citizens Insurance elects new president–why Floridians should care

Florida Citizens Property Insurance Corporation’s board hired a new president yesterday.

Who cares, right?

Well, if you’re a Floridian who owns or rents a house or apartment, drives a car, owns a boat, or owns a business, you should care.  Everyone else may utter a collective “meh” and read something else.

For those of you still reading, Continue reading