Volume 2 Number 40
October 3, 2005


Consumer Services HelpLine Number 800-342-2762






COMMITTEE TO SIMPLIFY HOMEOWNERS INSURANCE POLICIES FOR FLORIDIANS ANNOUNCED

First Meeting Slated For October 4th, Report Due January 15th

Tom Gallagher, Florida’s chief financial officer, announced a ten-member committee tasked with developing a standard homeowners insurance policy for Floridians that is both easy to understand and offers comprehensive coverage.  State lawmakers called for the committee in response to Gallagher’s concern that many victims of the 2004 hurricanes were not adequately protected because they either did not understand the complex language in their insurance policies or had not updated their policy limits to keep pace with increasing property values. 

“Time after time, in the hurricane recovery town hall meetings I held around the state and in calls to my office, Floridians said they were surprised at what their policies didn’t cover or that their coverage was not enough to rebuild their homes,” said Gallagher, who oversees the Florida Department of Financial Services. “The committee is tasked with developing a simple, plain-language homeowners insurance policy with the consumer in mind.

The new law, passed by state lawmakers in the 2005 session, requires Gallagher to appoint an advisory committee that includes two members recommended by Insurance Commissioner Kevin McCarty, two appointees from the residential property insurance industry, two property insurance agents, two consumers and Florida’s Insurance Consumer Advocate.  The committee must issue its recommendation to the Legislature by January 15, 2006. 

Along with announcing the members of the Standard Personal Lines Advisory Committee, Gallagher also announced the committee’s meeting schedule.  The first committee meeting is scheduled to be held in Room 110 of the Senate Office Building on October 4th, from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., in Tallahassee.  The other scheduled meeting dates are October 28th, November 17th and December 6th.  The final meeting will be on January 4, 2006.

Members of Standard Personal Lines Advisory Committee 

CHAIR
CFO Gallagher’s designee – Rick Mahler, Deputy Chief of Staff, Department of Financial Services

COMPANY REPRESENTATIVES
Joel P. Curran – Towerhill Insurance Group, chief underwriting officer and senior manager.

Jim Graganella – Capital Preferred & Southern Fidelity Insurance Companies.  President / CEO.

AGENT REPRESENTATIVES
Hector Fortune, Fortune Insurance.

Bruce A. Baker, USI Insurance Services of Florida, Inc.   

CONSUMERS 
Rick Suarez, Miami, Florida, proprietor of Ready Windows.

Arnold Whisenant, Jacksonville, Florida, retired.

OFFICE OF INSURANCE REGULATION RECOMMENDATIONS 

Dr. Elizabeth Beard Goldsmith, Florida State University, Professor.  National Association of Insurance Commissioner’s Consumer Representative.

Richard C. Koon, Office of Insurance Regulation, Senior Management Analyst, Director Policy Forms

INSURANCE CONSUMER ADVOCATE

Steve Burgess, State of Florida.