There are seven faces behind Florida’s largest home insurer. But there could be eight. Or nine.
And two might have to be South Florida cardholders.
The Citizens Property Insurance Corp. board of directors would be expanded by one member with the addition of a consumer advocate, while two members would have to come from South Florida, according to a bill filed by Sen. Anitere Flores, R-Miami. Flores’ proposal, (Senate Bill 1428) would give the state’s chief financial officer – who already has two appointments to the board – a third selection, this one to serve as a consumer advocate. The governor, House speaker and Senate president each also make two appointments to the board. Flores also proposes one member be a Miami-Dade County resident and another come from Monroe County. Current board Chairman Carlos Lacasa is from Miami-Dade County. Other members are from Pinellas, Orange, Duval, Palm Beach, Alachua and St. Johns counties. A seat that falls under CFO Jeff Atwater’s list of appointees is currently vacant.
With seven current sitting members, this addition would bring the tally to eight – or nine, if Florida CFO Jeff Atwater fills the final vacant seat.
Board members, who serve three-year terms, administer Citizen’s Plan of Operation, and vote on “claims policies, rate changes, contractors, budgets and other items that affect policyholders,” according to the SunSentinel.
But the concerns of property owners across the state are not homogenous. And requiring that two members come from South Florida might reflect such a sentiment.
During WLRN’s Town Hall session on Feb. 25, Sen. Jack Latvala, R-Clearwater, pointed out that increases in premiums for his constituents can often be associated with the area’s sinkhole problem.
“Well, what has exacerbated the problem in our area is, in addition to the hurricane risk, we’ve also had a very substantial problem with sinkholes on the west coast of Florida,” he said. “And that led to some increases in premiums and changing the ways sinkholes were done.”
But this reasoning wouldn’t resonate with Miami residents who are disgruntled about their rising insurance costs.
If passed, SB 1428 would go into effect this July.