Copyright ©2007 NPR. For personal, noncommercial use only. See Terms of Use. For other uses, prior permission required.

STEVE INSKEEP, host:

Let's go next to Florida, where homeowners could see their property insurance rates cut by as much as 40 percent under a plan passed yesterday by the state legislature. The savings will vary widely, depending on where people live and who their insurance company is. But we're still talking about savings.

Here's Florida Public Radio's James Call.

JAMES CALL: The 2004 and 5 hurricane seasons continue to wreak havoc in Florida. Eight storms caused $36 billion in losses. So companies raised rates. When bills quadrupled, residents complain. Lawmakers devised a plan to shift future losses from insurance companies to a state-created catastrophic fund.

Representative Ron Reagan says the legislature is betting the storm won't hit before the state can build up that fund.

State Representative RON REAGAN (Republican, Florida): We have no choice. If we're going to get rate relief, it's a gamble. We are gambling lower rates today on future assessments. That's what we're doing. But the insurance is a gamble. So if the wind does blow, everyone in the state of Florida will pay additional money.

CALL: The insurance law be offered only token resistance to the measure. Sam Miller is with the Florida Insurance Council.

Mr. SAM MILLER (Vice President, Florida Insurance Council): We said all along that the only thing would be an expanded state role, and the legislature has finalized that. They sure have done everything they could do. I mean…

CALL: Newly-elected Governor Charlie Crist promised to fix the state's property insurance crisis, and he's now willing to put the state on the hook for up to $36 billion if a Katrina-like storm were to hit.

Governor CHARLIE CRIST (Republican, Florida): I am a less government guy, but I also understand practical reality of where we are. We've had some dramatic couple of years that have put Floridians at risk. And we have an obligation to do everything we can to help them.

CALL: The bill now goes to Crist for his signature. He appeared with legislative leaders after they passed a bill and praised lawmakers' work.

For NPR News, I'm James Call in Tallahassee.

Copyright © 2007 NPR. All rights reserved. No quotes from the materials contained herein may be used in any media without attribution to NPR. This transcript is provided for personal, noncommercial use only, pursuant to our Terms of Use. Any other use requires NPR's prior permission. Visit our permissions page for further information.

NPR transcripts are created on a rush deadline by a contractor for NPR, and accuracy and availability may vary. This text may not be in its final form and may be updated or revised in the future. Please be aware that the authoritative record of NPR's programming is the audio.

Comments

 

Please keep your community civil. All comments must follow the NPR.org Community rules and terms of use, and will be moderated prior to posting. NPR reserves the right to use the comments we receive, in whole or in part, and to use the commenter's name and location, in any medium. See also the Terms of Use, Privacy Policy and Community FAQ.