Heartland Institute Expert: Federal Reinsurance Tax Proposal ‘Just a Bad Idea’

February 15, 2011
Jim Lakely

TALLAHASSEE — Rep. Jeff Brandes (R-St. Petersburg), the CEO of the James Madison Institute, and Eli Lehrer, national director of The Heartland Institute’s Center on Finance, Insurance, and Real Estate blasted the Obama administration’s proposal to impose enormous new taxes on offshore reinsurance companies.

The taxes, officially called “deduction disallowance for excess non-taxed reinsurance premiums paid to affiliates,” would make it nearly impossible for international reinsurers to compete in the United States. As a result, according to a study conducted by the economic consulting firm The Brattle Group, insurance rates on everything from homes to airplanes would rise dramatically in many places. Americans also would pay higher taxes. Brandes has introduced a memorial putting the Florida legislature on record against the tax.

“Representative Brandes is doing exactly the right thing by trying to get the Florida legislature on the record against this awful tax,” Lehrer said. “If implemented as the Obama administration proposes, this will make it harder for individuals to purchase insurance, raise taxes, damage the economy, and make life more difficult for Florida families.”

Don Brown, a former Florida state legislator and currently senior fellow at The Heartland Institute, also condemned the tax. “The imposition of a tax on reinsurance would hurt Floridians,” Brown said. “We must rely more heavily on reinsurance than most other states because of our extraordinary exposure to hurricanes. Floridians struggle to pay their homeowners insurance now. An added tax is just a bad idea.”

Lehrer can be reached for further comment at 202/615-0586 or elehrer@heartland.org.

Brown can be reached for further comment at 850/865-9280 of dbrown@heartland.org.

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