As one of his first actions upon taking office in January 2007, Florida Governor Charlie Crist asked the state legislature to increase the state’s hurricane catastrophe fund. Crist’s initiative was designed to lower insurers’ costs, and insurers, which bought reinsurance from the state, were supposed to pass their savings on to policyholders. As reported here and here, Florida’s Office of Insurance Regulation has repeatedly denied rate filings that it deemed too high in light of the January 2007 reforms.
Contending that the insurers have violated the law by failing to lower rates approximately 24% as he and the legislature expected, Crist has assembled a team of three prominent trial lawyers to review the property insurance industry's compliance with this 12-month-old reform. The legal team will review the insurers’ responses to subpoenas on this issue, as well as the submissions of every company that has sought a rate increase. Then, the team will recommend whether to file suit against the insurers.
The legal team is comprised of: Dexter Douglas, General Counsel to former Governor Lawton Chiles; Fort Lauderdale attorney Bob Hackleman; and Robert Martinez, former U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Florida.