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Statement from Tom Gallagher on News of Deficit in Citizens Property Insurance Corporation

3/23/2006

CONTACT:
FLDFS Press Office
(850) 413-2842
 
 TALLAHASSEE – The House Insurance Committee today received news that the anticipated deficit for Citizens Property Insurance Corporation, the state's insurer of last resort, is estimated to be $1.7 billion.  Tom Gallagher, Florida's chief financial officer, released the following statement on the deficit, which by law must be paid through assessments on all Florida homeowners' insurance policies:
 
"Today's news only reinforces the need for immediate rate-relief for Florida's property owners, which can be accomplished by using surplus sales-tax revenue to offset insurance assessments.
 
"In the wake of eight hurricanes in 15 months, too many Floridians are already dealing with sharply higher insurance premiums.  Refunding hard-earned tax dollars to Florida's families in the form of insurance rate-relief makes sense and is sound fiscal policy.
 
"State lawmakers have shown incredible leadership in helping Floridians recover quickly from these storms.  Another way to help reduce the burden of storm losses is by refunding surplus sales-tax revenue, and I will continue to urge policymakers to support this measure.
 
 "We need to also reduce the size of Citizens and its financial impact on Florida property owners, including getting out of the business of covering high-end properties and vacation homes." 
 
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    As a statewide elected officer of the Florida Cabinet, Chief Financial Officer Tom Gallagher 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. Gallagher also serves as the State Fire Marshal.