What’s the answer to high insurance rates in the private market? Well, you know the answer: create a government-run insurance company that is sure to be run much more efficiently, can draw on the capital of the entire state through the Legislature’s taxing power, and will be able both to insure all the higher risks that many insurers don’t want to and offer cheaper rates! It’s so simple I don’t know why every state isn’t doing what Florida is doing.
As many of you know, Florida is in the midst of "fixing" its high homeowners insurance rates through a variety of moves, one of which is to attempt to change state-run Citizens Property from the insurer of last resort into the insurer of first resort. So far all the fixing hasn’t produced much of a change, but Gov. Charlie Crist, in a new weekly Q and A feature in one newspaper, says "help is on the way," and begs folks not to move from Florida till he has a chance to straighten the mess out.
Incidentally, this weekly question-answering by Crist, from what I can figure out by reading the feature, seems to be a deal where people e-mail questions, and then Crist and/or his staff get to sit around and mull over what the answer should be. How about an online chat at a designated time every week, wouldn’t that achieve the same result and be more authentic? As always with these kind of things, the most interesting stuff by far is in the online comments, which you should take a look at. My favorite: "Stay in Florida because help is on the way. Makes me wanna move faster."
UPDATE: This list of the most expensive states to insure your home comes from Forbes.com and is based on data a couple years old, so it misses the big run-ups in premiums in parts of Florida, Mississippi and Louisiana. It was interesting to me that Oklahoma had higher average premiums than Florida, and that Kansas and Alaska also made the Top 10. Here’s the Forbes’ main story that the list accompanies.