Vol 6 No. 43 - July 19, 2006

Insurance crisis feedback sought
By Tom Vaught
sun staff writer


TALLAHASSEE – The Florida Office of Insurance Regulation has announced it will be conducting an online survey to hear the problems that businesses in the state are encountering when they try to get business insurance coverage.

In a news release, the office said it had already heard from businesses and policymakers from around the state regarding problems with the availability and cost of commercial insurance coverage.

Insurance Commissioner Kevin McCarty said they need to find out which businesses are having difficulty, where they are located and the challenges they are facing. He said armed with that information, the state hopes to develop targeted remedies to provide relief to the business community.

The online survey will consist of 10 questions dealing with the type of business that is responding, 10 questions about the specific insurance difficulty the business is encountering and an area for individual feedback. Any business can respond by going to
https://apps.fldfs.com/Survey/default.aspx?qid=49&pre=CP.

The release said that most of the questions could be answered by pointing and clicking on drop-down menus. The name of the business or owner does not have to be provided but an e-mail address will be needed so a required password can be sent to complete the survey.

Directions are printed on the bottom of the page.

The department said that the survey would be forwarded to chambers of commerce across the state, trade associations and federations representing businesses statewide. Business owners have until July 24 to fill out the survey. When the survey results are compiled they will be displayed on the Office of Insurance Regulation website at http://www.floir.com/.

Businesses on Anna Maria Island have complained about the cost and lack of coverage for windstorm coverage for the past year since the commercial carriers cut back on availability in areas near the Gulf coast. The state mandated carrier of last resort, Citizens Insurance Company, does not have to provide windstorm coverage in areas unless they are within 1,000 feet of the Gulf of Mexico. Business owners who cannot get windstorm coverage often find it impossible to get mortgages on their businesses.

The Anna Maria Island Chamber of Commerce has been instrumental in trying to increase the wind-pool zone to coverage of the whole Island, and several state elected officials, including State Rep. Bill Galvano, have backed measures to change the 1,000-foot designation.

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