Affordable Insurance

Published October 29, 2010

The Oct. 25 Business Monday story Are we covered? drives home a horrifying fact: Even after five hurricane-free years, Florida’s insurance market is still in awful shape.

There is less competition, less consumer choice, less financial stability and higher rates.

The best solutions to these problems aren’t a rearranging of the current system — it’s broken beyond repair — but, rather, a fundamental rethinking of the government’s role in providing insurance.

Citizens and the Florida Hurricane Catastrophe Fund — state agencies both — must be scaled back to reduce risk to taxpayers and, particularly in coastal areas, rates may have to rise, especially for expensive homes.

The government has a role in making sure that insurance companies remain solvent and in encouraging individuals to retrofit their houses. But its large-scale intervention has failed dismally.

Because of its location, Florida will always be a high-risk state, and insurance will never be cheap.

The right changes, however, can make insurance here available and affordable.

CHRISTIAN R. CAMARA, director, Florida Insurance Project, The Heartland Institute, Tallahassee