Rep. Mike Fasano was denied the opportunity to sit on the House’s Insurance and Banking committee, but the outspoken consumer advocate is still finding a way to get involved in the debate over property insurance.
As the chair of the Joint Administrative Procedures Committee, Fasano, R-New Port Richey, is requesting that the president of Citizens Property Insurance appear at the next committee meeting to answer some tough questions.
Despite a law passed last year that requires Citizens to offer a more basic (and usually cheaper) policy to homeowners beginning Jan. 1, the state-run insurer has not yet begun to do so.
“Effective Janurary 1, 2013, the corporation shall offer a bssic personal lines policy similar to an HO-8 policy with dwelling repair based on common construction materials and methods,” reads Fasano’s letter, quoting a law passed last year. “It is the Committee’s understanding that this requirement has yet to be implemented by the Corporation.”
Fasano wants Citizens president Barry Gilway and Insurance Commissioner to appear before his committee at its next meeting, on Feb. 19.
Citizens acknowledges that it has not begun to offer the statutorily required policy, but said that’s because the Office of Insurance Regulation approved the policy “much later than anticipated”
“There was clear discussion at the board and committee level that based upon the filing not being approved until December that we would not be able to issue policies beginning January 1 but would have them available as soon as possible,” said spokesperson Christine Ashburn.
The back-and-forth between Citizens and OIR went on late last year as Citizens’ board members expressed major reservations about offering cheaper policies. OIR said Citizens’ rates for the new policy should be considerably lower than what the insurer originally requested. After lengthy negotiations, OIR agreed to approve the HO-8 rates that were lower than Citizens’ original proposal, but with strict requirements.
Ashburn said the new policy should be available soon.