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McCarty reluctant to support deregulation legislation

Amid discussion of State Farm today, Florida Insurance Commissioner Kevin McCarty addressed a new bill to deregulate the insurance company sponsored by Rep. Bill Proctor, R-St. Augustine, and Sen. Mike Bennett, R-Bradenton.

McCarty initially avoided commenting directly on the legislation -- HB447 -- and he said he is open to a legislative debate on the issue. But after the meeting, he indicated he would likely oppose the bill.

"(Homeowners) have to buy insurance," McCarty reasoned. "And if you have to buy a product and there is no governance, so to speak, to make sure they aren’t priced gouged in the aftermath of a catastrophic event I think it frustrates the public policy initiative of getting affordable housing for Americans.

Lawmakers say the plan would give people the choice to select insurance policies with protections from the free market. But McCarty suggested their economic theory is wrong.

"The capitalistic solution would be that I don’t have to buy the insurance," he said. "Demand is in-elastic, supply is elastic. That doesn’t work in a free-market enterprise system."

UPDATE: A spokesman for Commissioner McCarty called and asked for a more stark headline: "McCarty reluctant to support deregulation legislation." The original headline read: "McCarty open to debate on deregulation legislation."

Apparently he wants lawmakers to know he's not in favor of the legislation.

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