Scott signs Citizens bill

TALLAHASSEE -- Gov. Rick Scott Wednesday signed legislation that will attempt to overhaul Citizens' Property Insurance, the state's largest insurer.

"This legislation will bring much needed reforms to better protect the taxpayers who support Citizens Property Insurance," Scott said.

The legislation, which takes effect July 1, requires the state-run company to have an inspector general who cannot be fired by Citizens and requires the company to follow state purchasing guidelines. Those changes came in light of several ethical mishaps at the company and accusations of out-of-control spending in a state report.

The measure also creates a clearinghouse to try to move Citizens' policyholders into the private market and prohibits the company from covering new construction in environmentally sensitive, coastal areas.

“It’s a hell of a victory. It’s a step in the right direction, and it’s a significant step,” said state Sen. David Simmons, R-Altamonte Springs, the sponsor of the new law. 

Simmons added that he still planned to come back next session with a bill to remove “wind-only” policies from the state-run insurer.


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