Governor Scott signs bill to reform Citizens - WFLA News Channel 8

Governor Scott signs bill to reform Citizens

Posted: Updated:
TALLAHASSEE, FL -

– Today, Governor Rick Scott signed SB 1770 into law, which reforms the state's largest insurance company, Citizens Property Insurance Corporation, a taxpayer backed entity.

Governor Scott said, "This legislation will bring much needed reforms to better protect the taxpayers who support Citizens Property Insurance. This legislation requires Citizens to have an Inspector General that they cannot fire, follow state purchasing guidelines, and disclose potential surcharges with each policy renewal notice.  It also requires Citizens to implement a clearinghouse to ensure Floridians no longer subsidize those with private insurance options.  Additionally, this law helps protect the environment by removing subsidies for new construction in environmentally sensitive coastal areas.  

"With this legislation now in place, I am asking Chief Inspector General Melinda Miguel to immediately join with other Cabinet offices and begin a nationwide search for the new Citizens Inspector General.  This new Inspector General will be accountable to the Cabinet and will not be an entity Citizens can fire, as they did with their old compliance officers. A strong Inspector General is needed to provide independent oversight at Citizens and to end the fraud, waste, and abuse which has plagued Citizens for too long.

"I have previously requested and reviewed Inspector General Reports on the egregious travel expenses at Citizens and the termination of their compliance office. The IG reports confirmed what most of us already knew – Citizens needs serious reform in order to instill the public confidence that should belong to the state's largest insurance company, which is supported by Florida taxpayers.

"We called for Citizens to make immediate changes to their travel guidelines to bring them in line with official state travel restrictions, which do not reimburse for the purchase of alcohol. We called on them to further change their travel policy so it prohibited any international travel and permitted only essential employees to attend board meetings. We called on them to give back the outrageous pay raises they doled out to their executives last year. And, we called for the creation of an independent statutory IG to enforce existing rules at Citizens and force them to make additional reforms, which this legislation will finally begin today. Disappointingly, Citizens has still not returned the lavish pay raises it doled out to its executives last year.

"With this legislation, Citizens will now have to follow state guidelines for purchasing commodities.  Because they oversee millions of dollars in contracts, this reform is long overdue.  State purchasing guidelines will help ensure a high level of transparency and competition. 

"Senate Bill 1770 also prohibits new construction commencing after July 1, 2014 from Citizens coverage if it is built in high-risk, environmentally sensitive coastal areas.  This commonsense step eliminates public insurance subsidies for new coastal constructions with a high risk of storm losses. This reform also has the added benefit of protecting environmentally sensitive areas from further development.

"Finally, in light of the risk transfer agreement Citizens executed last week with only four days public notice, the company should further reform their existing policies to require a minimum seven days notification of a public meeting. This commonsense reform would bring Citizens' policies in line with the state's Administrative Procedures Act, which directs agencies to publish their agenda at least seven days in advance. This is another area where Citizens should come in line with existing state policies and not be given special treatment.

"I am grateful for the leadership of Senators Simmons and Richter, Representatives Holder and Nelson, and the Legislature for their work on SB 1770. While this law will not be a cure-all for Citizens' many problems, it makes important reforms to improve this taxpayer backed organization."

  • 8 On Your SideMore>>

  • Magic diet pill promoter found running new business in Tampa

    Magic diet pill promoter found running new business in Tampa

    Tuesday, September 2 2014 5:02 PM EDT2014-09-02 21:02:23 GMT
    File Photo: Nick CongletonFile Photo: Nick Congleton
    Nick Congleton is in hot water with the FTC for selling "magic diet pills," and under investigation by Florida's Attorney General for a defunct travel club that owes hundreds of consumers for vacations they never received.Now, he's keeping a low profile and running a new business out of an unmarkedwarehouse in the Channelside District, where he didn't have much to say to Eight On Your Side this morning.
    Nick Congleton is in hot water with the FTC for selling "magic diet pills," and under investigation by Florida's Attorney General for a defunct travel club that owes hundreds of consumers for vacations they never received.Now, he's keeping a low profile and running a new business out of an unmarkedwarehouse in the Channelside District, where he didn't have much to say to Eight On Your Side this morning.
  • Home Depot probing 'Unusual Activity' after reports of data breach

    Home Depot probing 'Unusual Activity' after reports of data breach

    Tuesday, September 2 2014 1:55 PM EDT2014-09-02 17:55:41 GMT
    Home Depot may be the latest retailer to suffer a massive credit card breachHome Depot may be the latest retailer to suffer a massive credit card breach
    Home Depot may be the latest retailer to have suffered a massive credit card breach, the company confirmed on Tuesday, after Krebs on Security reported that a large cache of stolen data had appeared on black market sites.
    Home Depot may be the latest retailer to have suffered a massive credit card breach, the company confirmed on Tuesday, after Krebs on Security reported that a large cache of stolen data had appeared on black market sites.
  • Community reaches out to Spring Hill family after theft of lawn equipment

    Community reaches out to Spring Hill family after theft of lawn equipment

    Tuesday, September 2 2014 8:45 AM EDT2014-09-02 12:45:21 GMT
    Michael Depace wants to say "thank you" and give a huge hug to everyone that reached out after a thief stole $3,500 worth of lawn equipment from him.
    Michael Depace wants to say "thank you" and give a huge hug to everyone that reached out after a thief stole $3,500 worth of lawn equipment from him.
  • NewsMore>>

  • Suspect who ran over Palm Harbor security guard to turn himself in says attorney

    Suspect who ran over Palm Harbor security guard to turn himself in says attorney

    Tuesday, September 2 2014 9:59 PM EDT2014-09-03 01:59:51 GMT
    The suspect was involved in an altercation inside the establishment just before 3 am Friday.The suspect was involved in an altercation inside the establishment just before 3 am Friday.
    The man who investigators say intentionally ran over a security guard at a Palm Harbor nightclub early Friday morning will turn himself in on Wednesday according to his attorney, Barry Cohen.
    The man who investigators say intentionally ran over a security guard at a Palm Harbor nightclub early Friday morning will turn himself in on Wednesday according to his attorney, Barry Cohen.
  • Online business complaint lands Sarasota woman and BBB in lawsuit

    Online business complaint lands Sarasota woman and BBB in lawsuit

    Tuesday, September 2 2014 7:46 PM EDT2014-09-02 23:46:44 GMT
    Can you be sued over your online complaint about a company? That's what happened to Sarah Kessler, of Sarasota.
    Can you be sued over your online complaint about a company? That's what happened to Sarah Kessler, of Sarasota.
  • Is your data safe in Apple’s iCloud?

    Is your data safe in Apple’s iCloud?

    Tuesday, September 2 2014 6:04 PM EDT2014-09-02 22:04:56 GMT
    Hackers gained access to celebrities private pictures including nude photos of actress Jennifer Lawrence. Apple says it has fixed a security flaw but cybersecurity experts say anyone can become a victim.“Anybody can get hacked.
    Hackers gained access to celebrities private pictures including nude photos of actress Jennifer Lawrence. Apple says it has fixed a security flaw but cybersecurity experts say anyone can become a victim.“Anybody can get hacked.
Powered by WorldNow

200 South Parker Street, Tampa, FL 33606

Telephone: 813.228.8888
Fax: 813.225.2770
Email: news@wfla.com

Can’t find something?
Powered by WorldNow
All content © Copyright 2000 - 2014 Media General Communications Holdings, LLC. A Media General Company.