A plan to loan $350 million of Citizens Property Insurance's surplus to private insurers has garnered praise from several pro-business groups in Florida.
The loan program, which was announced and unveiled last week, could reduce the size of Citizens by up to 300,000 policies and reduce future hurricane taxes if Florida is hit by a big storm.
That's a worthy goal for the state-run insurer of last resort, according to Florida Tax Watch, Americans for Prosperity-Florida, and Associated Industries of Florida.
“On behalf of Associated Industries of Florida, we are pleased the Citizens Property Insurance Corp. governing board is working diligently to reduce the risks posed to our state by the over-exposed, state-backed insurer," said Thomas C. Feeney, III, President of Associated Industries of Florida.
While some have bashed the program as corporate welfare, pro-business groups have come out in strong support.
Statements from AIF, Americans for Prosperity-Florida and Florida Tax Watch are below.
Tallahassee, Fla. – Leaders from statewide business and nonprofit groups voiced their support for the $350 million in low-interest loans for private insurers that the Citizens Property Insurance Corp. governing board approved last Friday. In addition to relieving Citizens of thousands of policies, the plan would reduce future hurricane tax assessments by an estimated $1.2 billion.
Abigail F. MacIver, Director of Policy & External Affairs, Americans for Prosperity - Florida
“Americans for Prosperity Florida applauds the Citizens Property Insurance Corp. governing board for offering a solution that will relieve Florida taxpayers of over a billion dollars in liabilities. Our organization fully supports the depopulation of Citizens and urges the board and Florida Legislature to continue to work to reduce the risk associated with the state-run entity and return it to its intended purpose as the insurer of last resort. The focus needs to continue to be on ways we can help to reinvigorate the private market, which is willing and able to take on insurance risk, without burdening Florida taxpayers.”
Thomas C. Feeney, III, President & Chief Executive Officer, Associated Industries of Florida
“On behalf of Associated Industries of Florida, we are pleased the Citizens Property Insurance Corp. governing board is working diligently to reduce the risks posed to our state by the over-exposed, state-backed insurer. We have long supported reform of Citizens because its reliance on self-implementing hurricane taxes presents a huge threat to Florida’s businesses. Thankfully, the Citizens Board has been acting to reduce this risk. This new initiative has the potential to reduce hurricane taxes by more than $1 billion, which is beneficial to the entire business community as well as all homeowners, charities, churches and automobile policyholders. Continued Citizens and Florida Hurricane Catastrophe Fund reforms are needed to show that Florida is open for business and ready to get back to work.”
Dominic M. Calabro, President and CEO, Florida TaxWatch
“Florida TaxWatch commends the Citizens governing board for looking to reduce the financial burden on the backs of all Florida taxpayers. Reducing Citizens' exposure by an estimated $1.2 billion is a step in the right direction, as Florida taxpayers will be better protected in the wake of the next large storm or series of storms. Florida TaxWatch looks forward to reviewing the details of the plan to implement this program, and are encouraged that they continue to strive to return Citizens back to its original role as an insurer of last resort, as Florida TaxWatch research has recommended.”