Gambling with Florida's financial future


Published: Wednesday, January 17, 2007 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Wednesday, January 17, 2007 at 12:02 a.m.
While people are rightfully concerned about high property insurance bills, the proposed reforms to reduce the cost of insurance need to be examined carefully. In particular, there are two questions that every legislator should have a good answer for before voting in favor of the proposed property insurance reform bills. These are: 1. What would be the loss to Florida if a bad hurricane strikes? For example, if a Katrina-size hurricane hits the Miami area and devastates the homes there (an $80 billion storm), what amount would the state of Florida owe the affected homeowners?
2. How will the state of Florida get the money to pay the affected homeowners? What taxes would have to be raised or how else could this sum of money be raised?
Under some of the insurance reforms proposed by the Legislature, a major, Katrina-size hurricane could result in Florida owing a huge amount to the affected homeowners, and the only way to pay this amount would be for the state to raise taxes to very high levels and slash all sorts of programs such as education, law enforcement and highway maintenance.
If the legislators cannot come up with a way to ensure that Florida's financial situation is still good after a strike by a major hurricane, it should avoid these proposed reforms. Playing "Russian Roulette" with Florida's financial future by passing an insurance reform bill that does not protect Florida's finances against large losses in the event of a major hurricane would be incredibly irresponsible behavior.

Ed Wolcott,

Gainesville

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