I was taken recently by a letter to the editor of the Florida Times Union. It was signed by Tom Smith of St. Augustine and titled; “A Botched Deal”. Not only did its use of sarcasm capture my fancy, but…it focused on the irony of Citizens “assessments” and how they stick in the craw of those assessed; which, in the case of Citizens, is a lot of craws.
I thought you’d like to see what Tom Smith had to say, and how I would respond had his letter been sent to me. Enjoy!
A BOTCHED DEAL
I’d like to express my profound thanks to the caring politicians of our state for setting up Citizens insurance, which insures hundreds of thousands of homes, businesses and condominiums whose owners otherwise might not be able to find coverage.
Thank you for substituting your political judgment for the professional judgment of greedy insurance companies. We all know they are only interested in profits.
The system is working so well that my insurance company is charging me an “assessment” to enable Florida Citizens to pay the claims they received from past hurricane seasons.
I have only one suggestion to improve on this brilliant plan. Instead of having me pay money to my insurance company which then gives the money to Florida Citizens insurance, which then gives the money to their policyholders to pay claims, let’s skip the middlemen.
Just give me the names, addresses and dollar amounts that I should pay to Florida Citizens policyholders.
In all seriousness, one of three possibilities exists: 1) my insurance company is lying to me, or 2) Florida politicians are stupid, or 3) they think we are.
Which could it be?
Tom Smith, St. Augustine
Dear Tom :
Your insurance company isn’t lying to you. Lawmakers actually did create assessments and made them part of your insurance bill. They did this instead of taxing everyone so they wouldn’t be blamed. They also did it so that those who don’t want to pay more don’t have to and those who shouldn’t pay more would have to. Please pay your assessment; coastal homeowners need the subsidy and not paying is something you’ll regret, I promise.
Frankly, according to consumer advocates you should be proud to pay this subsidy; so, too, should those on food stamps and living in subsidized housing. Their assessment, like yours and mine, will go a long way to helping many millionaires live as they have become accustomed; on Florida’s beautiful sandy beaches and sun swept coastline. Citizens has over 400,000 residents in just its Coastal Account and many don’t want to replace old roof’s, increase their deductibles or pay more from the E&S market. That’s why you and others who built in the right place and/or the right way, need to help. After all…Florida needs more vacation homes on its coast; you know, to assist with coastal erosion and to obstruct the view of those less fortunate; presumably so they won’t know what they’re missing!!! 🙂
Yes Tom, there are a lot of Florida’s poor people in Citizens, living in mobile homes or older homes no insurer wants. But, many are there because Citizens offers similar, sometimes superior coverage, at a bargain price much lower than the “approved” rates of private companies; like the one forced to assess you. And Tom, don’t forget, you also pay more whenever commercial policyholders avoid their assessment by charging higher prices for what they sell. In essence you’re paying twice! What a great guy you are!
You asked for names and addresses. Well, Tom, this is strictly confidential. But, I’ve been told that Hulk Hogan’s $26 million mansion is in Citizens. Karl Rove and Mike Huckabee have coastal homes in Florida and are probably insured there as well. Some Palm Beach mansions are in Citizens, too. Heaven forbid if any had to upgrade or buy from the E&S market. After all, they didn’t have to do that with their estates in Massachusetts, California, or the Hampton’s.
What’s that? Instead of Occupy Wall Street you think taxpayers ought to Occupy Citizens instead?
Thanks for writing and have a nice day.
Scott Johnson, Tallahassee
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