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"Pray to the hurricane gods"

Spectacular irresponsibility from Florida lawmakers on homeowner's insurance, as reported in the Washington Post:

Last month, state legislators voted in an emergency session to lower insurance rates, primarily in South Florida, by pledging tens of billions in public money to affected homeowners if a major hurricane or two strikes again.

Since neither the state's catastrophe fund nor the state-chartered insurance company has anywhere near enough money on hand to pay the claims they may now be required to pay after a major hurricane, the measure is considered a gamble, even by proponents....

Critics have decried the measure as irresponsible. Under the legislation, in the event of a major hurricane, the state will pay claims by taxing home, automobile and some other types of insurance policies sold in the state.

The measure promises as much as $32 billion from the state's catastrophe fund to pay homeowner's claims after a storm, although the fund currently has less than $1 billion in it. It also decrees a rate cut for the state-run insurer that handles a lot of coastal homeowner business, although current rates are already considered too low to reflect risk and the company ran out of money in 2004 and 2005. Florida Gov. Charlie Crist (R), a former attorney general of his state, is a backer of the new scheme. More discussion at Reason "Hit and Run": Ronald Bailey, Radley Balko.



Rafael Mangual
Project Manager,
Legal Policy

Manhattan Institute


Published by the Manhattan Institute

The Manhattan Insitute's Center for Legal Policy.