NAMIC President Chuck Chamness was a featured speaker Nov. 28 during this year’s Florida Chamber of Commerce Annual Insurance Summit being held Nov. 28-30. Chamness spoke on “Florida in the National Picture.”
He praised Florida as a “leader in creating and enforcing minimum safety standards for buildings through building codes,” and noted that many in the state’s political leadership, particularly Gov. Rick Scott, are committed to further improvements in the insurance market but much work needs to be done. However, uncertainty in the state’s political environment regarding property insurance in particular means that the national view of Florida is that it is a tremendously challenging insurance market.
Chamness said testimony he presented to the U.S. Senate Banking Committee in April 2007 is still relevant today: “Simply put, the availability and affordability of insurance in coastal regions is mainly a function of risk but other variables, including actions taken by government, can also affect the supply and cost of insurance.”
He went on to describe the uncertainty created by the recent decisions to disallow the use of hurricane deductibles for claims resulting from what was called “Hurricane” and then labeled “Superstorm” Sandy as yet another example of the unpredictable environment facing the entire property/casualty insurance industry, not only in Florida.
Chamness concluded by urging Florida policymakers to do everything they can to depopulate Citizens Insurance and “return it to its proper role as an insurer of last resort” and to “encourage the spreading of risk through the global reinsurance market, instead of relying on economically unsound structures like the Florida Hurricane Catastrophe Fund or by unrealistically hoping that Congress will create some sort of national catastrophe fund that will transfer Florida’s risk to federal taxpayers. Florida’s over-reliance on such mechanisms has distorted the true cost of risk in Florida to such a degree that private capital is very skittish about coming back into the state.”
The summit continues through Nov. 30 at Disney’s Boardwalk Resort. NAMIC is a title sponsor of the event, for which more than 200 Florida insurance industry representatives, regulators, legislators, and policymakers have registered. Florida’s governor will address the summit Friday.
Contact: Lisa Floreancig
Public Affairs Director - State & Policy Affairs