Thursday, June 06, 2013

Gaetz Wants Hearings Into Heritage Property Insurance Deal

Florida Senate President Don Gaetz is calling for a special session to look into why the state run Citizens Property Insurance decided to hand over policies to Heritage Property Insurance. Heritage has nearly no track record to take the biggest risk property insurance policies. Heritage has been in existence less than a year. $110,000 to Scott's re-election campaign and now stands to make $52 million from the policies it claimed from Citizens.

Statement from Gaetz.

“The Florida Senate believes the facts and circumstances surrounding the Heritage transaction need thorough investigation so the people of Florida are assured that it and transactions like it are in the best interest of Floridians,” Gaetz, R-Niceville, said in a statement. “As such, as soon as Committee meetings begin this fall, the Senate Banking and Insurance Committee will conduct hearings to investigate and propose ]solutions to the concerns raised by this transaction and any others that might result from Citizens’ attempts to reduce its liabilities.”

Unsurprisingly, Gov. Rick Scott could not give a straight answer on whether or not he supported the Heritage deal. I noted before straight talk is not Scott's forte.

Reporter: A couple weeks ago, Citizens did a $52 million deal with a nine-month-old insurance company. We know how you feel about Citizens but you haven’t really said specifically how you feel about this unique and new type of deal. Do you support that type of economic activity at Citizens, are you against that specific deal?

Scott: First off, I want to try to do anything I can to try to reduce taxes in our state. As you know, my first year in office we reduced property taxes by over $200 million, so I think that’s a real positive. What Citizens is doing is, Citizens needs to make sure they downsize. They should be the insurance company of last resort. I’ll do anything I can to make sure they keep doing that. As you know I (appoint) two of eight board members and I don’t appoint the chairman. I want them to make sure they constantly look at how do we get them out of the business of being the insurance company of first resort. I want them to be the insurance company of last resort. That’s what they’re set up to do and that’s what they need to do.

Reporter: But, specifically. A couple weeks ago you went line-by-line and looked at budget issues and vetoed things were $100,000. This is a $52 million deal, and you’re the CEO of the state. Should you not look at this deal, specifically, and say, ‘I’m for this deal,’ or ‘I’m against this deal,’ or ‘I have issues with this deal,’ as others have?

Scott: Citizens has a board. I appoint two board members. I don’t appoint the chairman. My expectation is that they go through, and any program like that, they review it. And do the right thing.

The reporter made it easy for Scott by asking if Scott could state if "‘I’m for this deal,’ or ‘I’m against this deal,’ or ‘I have issues with this deal.’" This isn't rocket science. It is difficult for a man that takes pains to avoid the Florida's Sunshine Law and once gave a deposition where Scott the businessman couldn't give an answer to what a market is.

Cusack: Is Orlando a significant market for your company?

Scott (after attorney objects): I'm not sure what a 'market' is.

Scott is incapable of being truthful.

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