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Statement by CFO Sink on Progress of Special Session and Potential Citizens Reforms

1/18/2007

CONTACT: 
Tara Klimek or Nina Banister
(850) 413-2842
 
TALLAHASSEE—As the House of Representatives and Senate moved into the conference position Thursday during the Special Session on hurricane insurance, Chief Financial Officer Alex Sink offered the following statement:
 
"I'm very pleased with the amount of progress the Legislature has made during this week's special session.  We are moving closer to providing Floridians meaningful relief in a fiscally-responsible way.
"As Florida's Chief Financial Officer, I am concerned about the impact of the high insurance rates on people and the overall economy of our state.  At the same time, we must guard the long-term fiscal health of our state.  I want to make certain that we are making decisions that are in the best interests of tax payers in the future, as well as immediately.
 
"As we consider proposals that expand Florida's Hurricane Catastrophe Fund, we must set a fiscally-responsible limit that protects Floridians from being held liable for astronomical assessments, should we encounter truly devastating storms.  As the House and Senate deliberate over the next few days, I encourage our legislative leaders to consider setting the upper limit of the Fund at a level that does not jeopardize Florida's financial strength for the future.
 
"I am also eager to work with the Legislature and Governor Crist during the regular session to strengthen the powers of the Insurance Consumer Advocate to provide the fullest possible protection to consumers.  To be truly effective, Floridians deserve an Insurance Consumer Advocate who is able to challenge rate filings, investigate bad insurance practices and advocate for new insurance products and practices in our state, with an eye toward a healthy and stable insurance market.
 
"Additionally, I am concerned about making changes to Citizens Property Insurance Corporation before we have had an opportunity to evaluate the potential impact.  I encourage the Legislature to consider asking Citizens to create a business plan prior to the regular session, which demonstrates the intended operation of expanding to all-perils policies."
 
As a statewide elected officer of the Florida Cabinet, Chief Financial Officer Alex Sink  oversees the department of Financial Services, a multi-division state agency responsible for management of state funds and unclaimed property, assisting consumers who request information and help related to financial services, and investigating financial fraud. CFO Sink also serves as the State Fire Marshal.