On June 24, 2009 Florida Governor Charlie Crist vetoed Florida HB 1171, a property insurance reform bill, sought by the insurance industry and business advocacy groups. HB 1171 would have permitted insurers with adequate reserves to offer policies at whatever rate the market would bear while rate regulated companies continued to sell policies in Florida. Supporters of the bill argued that it would allow consumers to make independent choices about insurance companies and the rates they were willing to pay and lessen the exposure of Citizens Property Insurance Company, Florida’s state run property insurer of last resort.
State Senators Mike Bennett, R-Bradenton, and Representative Bill Proctor, R-St. Augustine sponsored the bill. Because, as reported here, it might have reversed State Farm’s withdrawal from Florida as a property insurer, the bill informally is known as the “State Farm bill.”
When vetoing the bill, Crist stated:
“This will likely result in significant and unpredictable rate increases that, during these economic times, people can simply not afford.”
Senators Bennett and Proctor reportedly are considering a campaign to override the Governor’s veto. The bill passed the Florida Senate and House by wide margins, 105-13 in the House and 27-9 in the Senate. The margins exceed the two-thirds majority required to pass the bill in spite of the gubernatorial veto, although by only three votes in the Senate.