This year's version of a proposal for limited deregulation of residential property insurance rates died on April 21, 2010, when the Senate Ways and Means Committee postponed consideration of the bill in its last meeting of the legislative session. The bill, SB 876 by Sen. Mike Bennett (R-Bradenton), and its House companion, HB 447 by Rep. William Proctor (R-St. Augustine), would have allowed residential property insurers to raise rates by up to 10 percent a year without regulatory approval. In 2009, Gov. Crist vetoed a similar bill that would have fully deregulated residential property insurance rates charged by extremely well capitalized insurers.
Sen. Bennett explained that “we just didn't feel this was the right year” for deregulation. He cited the opposition of Insurance Commissioner Kevin McCarty as a key factor. “Until the governor decides to replace Mr. McCarty … I don't think we have a chance of any insurance reform,” he said.
After Sen. Bennett declared his bill dead, Gov. Crist defended his threat to veto any bill that raised property insurance rates, saying he was “very happy” his threat had its intended effect. “We need to try to protect the consumers of the state, not allowing those rates to be increased on their backs at this time in this economy.”
Rep. Proctor's House bill reached the House floor on April 20, 2010, but the House has repeatedly postponed a final vote. House leaders have indicated that they intend to take up SB 2044 by Sen. Garrett Richter (R-Naples), a Senate bill that addresses several property insurance issues, but does not deregulate rates, instead of passing HB 447.