State Farm Deadline Looming
Before the week is out, Gov. Charlie Crist must make a decision on the most-watched bill of the legislative session. House Bill 1171 is an effort to keep State Farm in Florida by letting large insurance companies set their own rates.
The governor faces the choice of angering hundreds of thousands of State Farm customers or potentially running new start-up companies out of business.
The Office of Insurance Regulation has told the governor the legislation could put many of the 40 new Florida insurance companies at a disadvantage. So far, the governor has sent signals he is leaning toward a veto. He has until June 27 to act, according to the Capitol News Service.
“If you don’t want to pay the rates by a deregulated company, then shop somewhere else. Go somewhere else," said State Farm Agent Kathy Fain.
State Farm plans to stop writing one million policies over the next two years. In a letter to the governor last week, it said it would reevaluate its options if HB 1171 becomes law.
Insurance regulators say the companies are offering no guarantees.
“Neither State Farm nor any other insurance company in Florida has come to the commissioner and indicated that they plan to offer policies or stay in the state of Florida if HB 1171 becomes law," said Ed Domansky of the Office of Insurance Regulation.
A State Farm corporate spokesman declined to comment for this story, according to the news service.
Agent Dick Franklin says his future may be in the governor’s hands.
“We realize that Gov. Crist is politically the most powerful man in the state, and we ask for him to make the right choice for the citizens of the state," Franklin said.
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