Use hurricane tax windfall, not surcharge, for Citizens


Palm Beach Post, Sun Sentinel




The Palm Beach Post's editors correctly reflect the immediate concerns regarding Citizens Property Insurance Corp. in the editorial "State windfall policy? Spend it on insurance" (Nov. 28).
It has been reported that an estimated $2 billion in sales-tax revenue was created as a result of the 2004 hurricanes. This sales-tax revenue was generated by the repairs and replacement of items related to the hurricanes' damage. Every homeowner policy in Florida will see an assessment as a result of the $516 million Citizens' deficit from the 2004 hurricanes in the amount of 6.8 percent of their annual premium ($2,000 homeowner premium = $136) to pay for this deficit. Now, it is being reported that every homeowner policy will be assessed another estimated 11 percent to pay for the anticipated Citizens' deficit for the 2005 hurricanes.

The Legislature in the 2005 session did not finance Citizens with any part of this estimated $2 billion in sales tax revenue. Now, all Floridians with homeowner insurance must pay the assessments, in addition to increasing insurance premiums. This amounts to double taxation.
We need the Legislature to use these sales-tax windfalls to finance Citizens as well as the Florida Hurricane Catastrophe Fund (created in 1993 by the Legislature with the authority to assess most property and casualty policies), to make certain that money is available to pay Floridians their claims, control the premiums and prevent Floridians from having to pay these assessments. This is one step that makes sense for all of us here in Florida.
Boca Raton
Editor's note: Leonard Turesky is president of Van Ameringen's Insurance and Financial Services in Boca Raton and is a 2006 candidate for the Florida House in District 90.