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Blake Dowling: Staying powered during Irma

On Friday, I was chatting with the ABC 27 WTXL team about Irma, and what you should do about your mobile devices in case of a power outage.

For the best experience, get a generator, and keep everything charged up 24/7.

But, if you don’t have one available, here are a few tips to get the most juice out of your mobile device.

Turn off Wi-Fi, your phone is constantly looking for wireless networks, and this takes horsepower to do. Also, don’t have 20 windows open, look for the news you need from the Weather Channel app and (of course) FloridaPolitics.com, but stay off Instagram, and Pandora (streaming is bad for power consumption). That can wait until civilization returns to normal. We don’t need to see your Insta pic of your storm supplies: “Look he has bourbon and soup, how cute.” No.

Be smart with the power that you have, if a tree falls on your garage, you will be glad you can call your insurance company to report it and take photos of the scene.

As the storm gets closer, make sure you at full charge for tablets and phones. Also, if you have any USB battery packs, plug those in so they are ready for the recharge when needed. You may have a few from conferences you forgot about; go dig them out of the drawer. They are sold out at the store, so don’t bother.

To that end, I almost saw two people go to town over D batteries this morning. Come on now.

It will be tempting to stream TV Monday on those mobile devices (if the power is out), but keep in mind that kills power. Keep streaming to small bursts and rely on websites for the latest weather news.

Also, if power is on, but the cable is out, you might get the bright idea to plug your phone into your TV and stream away. I did this for the Ole Miss — FSU game last year via WatchESPN.

But when the bill came — oops. My data plan is pretty robust, but steaming eight hours of TV kicked it over the max.

Go to your settings function (iPhone), click “Battery” and put it on low power mode; this is a must. Also, hit the Display and Brightness section (also under settings) and make it dim. These two acts alone will give you tons of extra juice for emergency communication, and even some solitaire. That doesn’t use much power, just a few hands though.

Irma will be as bad as it gets, hit the roads if you can and get out of harm’s way. All the cellphone power in the world cannot battle 9-foot storm surges. Check on your neighbors, be kind to strangers, and be careful out there.

We will see how it goes over the next few days and my prayers to all of those in the path. Stay safe.

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Blake Dowling is CEO of Aegis Business Technologies and can be reached at dowlingb@aegisbiztech.com. He is bummed that the Gators are not playing Saturday, but he understands (sigh).

Dominic Calabro, Bob Ward: It’s time to rethink class size requirements

Remember the last special legislative session when the world was abuzz with the news that $100 million more was being added to the schools budget?  Now, imagine at least 20 times that amount being added every year. It could happen.

Substantial scientific research shows that the current class size requirement in the Florida Constitution loses much of its effect above the Grade 3 level. That means that the state is plowing about $2 billion each year into an unproven education reform which does little to help our children succeed. Simply put, it’s money that could be better spent on other educational programs.

Since 2002, taxpayers have invested more than $36 billion to reduce class sizes with the expectation that smaller classes will improve student achievement, but they have little to show for that investment in most grades. The most definitive study of class size reduction in Florida, conducted by Harvard University researchers, shows that class size reduction had no discernible impact on student achievement, absenteeism or behavior in grades 4-8. There is evidence that smaller classes for PreK through 3rd grade has promising effects on student learning, and both Florida TaxWatch and the Florida Council of 100 agree those class sizes should remain small or get smaller. However, the substantial body of research shows that the policy should be abandoned for grades 4 and above with the money reinvested in strategies that will increase student learning.

That’s the underlying theme of years of TaxWatch research, available on the TaxWatch website, and the Florida Council of 100’s recent report, Horizons 2040:  Prekindergarten to Grade 3. Horizons 2040 makes numerous recommendations for improving our school systems, including attracting and retaining high-performing teachers and leaders; expanding high-quality voluntary prekindergarten programs; providing school districts with a flexible source of funds for specialized student populations, such as English language learners, struggling or at-risk students, or students needing intensive reading instruction; expanding the use of technology and personalized methods of school instruction; and even reducing class sizes where proven effective like in grades PreK-3. The Council of 100 recommends paying for these enhancements with class size savings, and years of independent research by Florida TaxWatch concurs with the need to reinvest the money wasted on class size reduction.

Despite the substantial investment of state funding and the flexible methods to comply with the constitutional requirement afforded by statute, local school districts continue to struggle financially to meet the requirements and some districts have had to choose between hiring more teachers and saving vital programs.

Florida TaxWatch and the Council believe that there is no substitute for having a well-qualified and experienced teacher in every classroom and that districts need the flexibility to cater to the educational needs of their students.

The idea would be for the Legislature to develop a special list of uses for the money and then let school districts decide how best to allocate the dollars to help their students. For example, a district with many English Language Learners might want to invest in more reading coaches while a district needing laptops could spend its funds on that. Additionally, school districts could use the repurposed funding for the No. 1 factor in a student’s success — hiring and paying more outstanding teachers.

To make this happen, though, we must amend the Florida Constitution. The Florida Council of 100 has proposed just such an idea to the Constitution Revision Commission (CRC), and it’s vital that we all get behind it.

Florida is the only state that gives taxpayers a voice in amending their state constitution through a Constitutional Revision Commission. Every 20 years, this body meets to consider reforms that will better serve the people and taxpayers. The CRC is a once in a generation opportunity to make a real difference in the lives of our children. Please join TaxWatch in calling on the CRC to take up this issue and put it on the 2018 ballot for all to vote on. Our students and the taxpayers of Florida funding their education deserve nothing less.

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Dominic Calabro is president and CEO of Florida TaxWatch; Bob Ward is president and CEO of the Florida Council of 100.

 

Ron Sachs: Gov. Scott demonstrating finest leadership in Florida’s darkest hours of Hurricane Irma

Florida Governor Rick Scott is delivering the most defining moments of his nearly seven years in office as he continues to urge Floridians to prepare for, evacuate from and stay safe in the face of Hurricane Irma’s imminent threat to human life. As we witness the single best demonstration of leadership by a governor whose near-total focus since January 2011 has been on “jobs,” Gov. Scott is doing the best job of his tenure in helping millions of Floridians deal with the ominous approach of this natural-born killer.

The governor is devoting his total leadership to an important, incessant daily presence on multiple platforms, including frequent live statewide and national broadcasts. There is no self-aggrandizement involved in the smart, strong and strategic voice and vision Scott is displaying. He is calmly but surely delivering a consistent, confident and comforting set of useful updates and relevant warnings by stressing real and present dangers to us all. And, by properly using the power of his office and all of the appropriate resources of state government at his command, Scott has been pitch-perfect in his words and actions.

Just a few key examples are worth noting now:

  • The frequent updates, warnings, and advice for what to do, how to do it, and when to do it, with a cumulative positive impact to motivate people to follow directions in their own best interests.
  • The early decision to waive highway tolls to ease wave after wave of evacuees is likely going to save precious time and countless lives. Rescinding weight restrictions for trucks will enable timely delivery of supplies into Florida.
  • Activation of Florida Air and Army National Guard; advance declaration of emergency in all 67 counties – and outreach to President Trump for advance and post-storm emergency federal resources.
  • The diplomacy apparent in the preparations and responses among local, state and federal entities is already setting a modern model for ensuring that all forces are coordinating and cooperating, rather than competing and conflicting.

Yes, it would be the job of any governor to be the “Emergency Manager-in-Chief” in the face of such a horrific and deadly danger that is about to unleash what could become the worst natural disaster in Florida’s and America’s modern history. But actually doing the job requires a combination of skill, commitment and managerial excellence that can reveal either a governor’s great leadership ability or an untimely, woeful inadequacy. If you’re the governor, you don’t get to blame a chief of staff, communications director or emergency operations center for your own leadership failings when it really matters the most.

Fortunately for Florida, Gov. Scott’s demeanor, decision-making and dedication are reflecting that he has the “right stuff” – at the right time.

Going back 25 years ago to Hurricane Andrew’s deadly visit to Florida in August 1992, Gov. Lawton Chiles presided over what was then the worst natural disaster in modern history, with 44 deaths and $30 billion in damage. With far less technology available then to help, Chiles still marshaled every resource possible to essentially relocate the major functions of state government to South Florida, before and after the storm.

The recovery and rebuilding of damaged communities from Andrew became a complete focus for state government, typified by a special session of the Florida Legislature convened in December 1992. Then, in an appeal for humanity and unity above anything else, Chiles – a Democrat – forged a total nonpartisan alliance with an increasingly Republican Legislature to “ensure that hurricane victims do not become political victims, too.” Among the other key takeaways from Chiles’ leadership through Andrew was his insistence on a new paradigm for how local, state and federal emergency managers interact and cooperate. (That same lesson had to be learned again after a similar breakdown among the three levels of government in the response to Hurricane Katrina’s devastation in Louisiana.)

Gov. Jeb Bush arguably used the levers of power with greater ease than any modern Florida governor to achieve a specific agenda in many new policy initiatives, including some that still generate partisan debate today. But it was Bush’s brilliant management and personal leadership through multiple natural threats to Florida’s people, communities and resources that properly won his legacy as the state’s best ever “Master of Disaster.” No governor before or since was confronted with so many natural threats – mostly in a series of hurricanes and wildfires – that presented a test of leadership on an ongoing basis. Governor Bush passed that test, repeatedly, with A-plus marks and set the highest bar for what a chief executive ought to do to protect Florida.

At any time in Bush’s eight years as governor, the poor handling of even a single hurricane or wildfire would have been the dark cloud that might still define his era as governor. Instead, even political rivals and adversaries openly heap deserved praise on how deftly Governor Bush demonstrated his finest leadership skills with such total aplomb in so many stressful, dangerous times.

It’s OK to differ with any governor over politics and policies on education, human services, budget and taxes, or anything else. But the leadership we all need in a crisis has to be valued above any differences we have over issues that seem far less important when weighed against protecting lives.

As all of Florida and many parts of the U.S. brace for Irma’s already-deadly force, there is a sense of unity of purpose in the laser-focus on safety. The courageous and herculean efforts of thousands of first responders, state and local government officials, nonprofit agencies and countless volunteers will be key to enduring, surviving and recovering from the assault that Irma is about to unleash.

Governor Scott’s leadership is being tested as never before – and surely we need strong, steady leadership to help guide us through Irma’s approach, impact and aftermath. While there is so much to still do ahead, Governor Scott has shown he is up to the task of leading us through this worst threat. In our own way, as we ask God to protect our people, homes and communities, we can also put in a timely prayer for Governor Scott’s continued fine leadership.

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Ron Sachs is CEO of Sachs Media Group, which produces “Get Ready, America!” – a national hurricane safety initiative: www.hurricanesafety.org. He served as communications director to Gov. Chiles.

Joe Henderson: Another tone deaf move by Donald Trump

Florida’s members of the United States Senate don’t agree on much, but with a Category 5 hurricane bearing down on Miami and the east coast, Bill Nelson and Marco Rubio are standing shoulder-to-shoulder in advocating for their state.

Well done.

Yes, we expect leaders to put aside their differences and come together in times like this. But the trend of bipartisan agreement between those two actually started a few days ago, although current events shoved the news to the back pages.

They agree that President Trump offered up a lousy nominee to head NASA.

The choice of climate-denier U.S. Rep. Jim Bridenstine of Oklahoma to lead the space agency was just the latest example of the president’s tone-deaf timing, given the devastation in Texas from Hurricane Harvey and the way Hurricane Irma just flattened Caribbean islands on its way to Florida.

The nomination came last week in what has become known as the “Friday news dump” – that time when leaders try to slip controversial items into a period where they don’t think people will be paying attention.

Nelson and Rubio were paying attention.

Bridenstine has shown a keen interest in the space program and has indicated he would fast-track the mission to send astronauts to Mars.

That is all good.

But weather research also is a key part of NASA’s mission, and Bridenstine has left no doubt where he stands on the issue that humans are contributing to climate change.

In a 2013 speech on the floor of the U.S. House of Representatives, he said, “And we also know that (President Obama) spends 30 times as much money on global warming research as he does on weather forecasting and warning. For this gross misallocation, the people of Oklahoma are ready to accept the president’s apology, and I intend to submit legislation to fix this.”

Politifact rated Bridenstine’s assertion as mostly false.

“The head of NASA ought to be a space professional, not a politician,” Nelson told Politico in a statement.

Rubio told Politico he agreed with Nelson, and added that because the Senate must approve the nominee, the “baggage” Bridenstine carries means his confirmation is no sure thing.

“I just think it could be devastating for the space program. Obviously, being from Florida, I’m very sensitive to anything that slows up NASA and its mission,” Rubio said.

What’s happening in this hurricane season is exactly what climate experts have been warning about for years.

They say because of human actions, storms would be stronger than anything we’ve seen and they would be more frequent. Coastal areas would be devastated and the economic damage would be in the trillions of dollars.

Well, it’s happening. Trump’s response is to turn a key agency involved in climate research over to someone who says it’s all fake news.

Joe Henderson: Florida’s resolve displayed again as Irma approaches

Floridians generally are a cocky bunch when it comes to hurricanes. A lot of people take the batteries-and-beer approach to these things: make sure you have plenty of both.

Fill up the propane tank on the grill, fill the cooler with ice, and ride it out.

Not this time.

In 45 years of living in this slice of paradise, I have never seen residents across the state prepare for a hurricane like people are doing for Irma.

Here in Tampa, water and canned goods began disappearing from shelves on Monday, about a week before Irma’s possible arrival. People saw the devastation last week in Houston and they’re taking no chances.

The hurricane seems certain to give a direct hit to a good portion of Florida; we just don’t know where yet. No matter where that is, though, people nearly everywhere in the state will be affected. Irma is roughly the size of Ohio and could stretch from the Gulf to the Atlantic.

So, we get ready the best we can and hope for the best.

Gov. Rick Scott showed last year during the buildup to Hurricane Matthew that he understands the vital role leadership plays in times like this, and he is doing it again. Give the man credit.

Along with the emergency management personnel, the governor’s performance can reassure residents that all systems are in place to prepare before the storm hits and react after it leaves. That’s all we ask.

The aftermath of Irma could leave Floridians struggling for months to have the basics like food and shelter. Times like that, though, tend to bring out the best in people.

Already, churches across the state are mobilizing to help members of their congregations and community. Disaster agencies like the Red Cross and many, many others have teams in place to quickly respond to needs.

Social media is playing a huge role in giving residents options and support. I’ve had offers from friends as far away as Ohio to go there if it gets too bad here.

There is one buddy there who disagrees with me on everything politically, often vocally. That didn’t stop him from offering the use of his large motorhome as a place to stay if my family and I need it.

We really do tend to come together when it matters most. We aren’t so divided that we can’t lend a hand and a hug to someone who needs both.

Watching the approach of this storm has been draining for everyone, wondering where and when it will strike. Whatever happens though, we’ll get through it. This hurricane might be a monster, but it takes more than that to beat Floridians.

That’s not being cocky. It’s just the truth.

Cheryl Elias: Addressing Florida’s opioid crisis must include helping the person with the addiction

Each day it becomes more and more apparent that opioid addiction and trafficking are plaguing Florida. According to the Florida Department of Law Enforcement, five out of the nine types of drugs that caused the most deaths in 2015 were ones that fall within the category of opioids.

Two years later, we are seeing the effects of opioid addiction escalate and there does not seem to be a part of the state, rural or urban, that has not seen some impact.

Drug addiction and abuse is a major public health problem in the U.S. and associated costs go well beyond the standard medical bills. Costs related to drug addiction encompass those that result from developing other chronic health conditions, increasing crime rates, loss of work productivity and even unemployment.

In hospital costs alone, this epidemic cost Florida more than $1 billion in 2015. And let us not forget drug addiction’s impact on families and communities. The emotional hardships felt by those trying to help the person suffering from addiction are often unimaginable and the fact that their own lives are turned upside down cannot be ignored.

Understanding that addiction’s impacts reach far and wide, it becomes clear that to make any difference we need to address this issue in a comprehensive way.

Thankfully, our leaders in government are quickly realizing opioid addiction’s impacts and catastrophic effects and are taking action. Just this year, Sen. Marco Rubio was an original cosponsor of the Synthetics Trafficking & Overdose Prevention (STOP) Act to help reduce the flow of illicit fentanyl into the country, and he is also working with U.S. Health and Human Services in bringing grant dollars into the state aimed at combatting opioid trafficking and abuse in Florida.

Sen. Rubio understands how pressing this issue is for Floridians, and the actions he has taken this year are commendable.

However, efforts to address this issue should not stop there. There is still a long road toward a Florida free of opioid abuse, and part of this strategy should include providing proper treatment to those who suffer from addiction.

Patients seeking help in their recovery should have adequate access to all FDA-approved treatment options, including those which are non-opioid based. People can react differently to the same medication. What works for some will not necessarily work for all, and treatment should ultimately depend on the patient and the health care professional overseeing their recovery.

The goal here is to reduce and even eradicate addiction in the state of Florida to provide a more safe and promising future for everyone. Every Floridian can benefit from a reduced incidence of opioid addiction and abuse, so why not do everything we can to help those who need it most?

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Cheryl Elias is Executive Director of the U.S. Rural Health Network, an organization dedicated to creating and maintaining a dialogue between national health care advocates and rural communities.

 

Manley Fuller: Legislators must implement Amendment 1 conservation spending

Our Florida elected legislators are coming back to Tallahassee this month to begin deliberating the public’s business. In legislative committee meetings, they will start deciding which issues will become priorities for the official 60-day 2018 legislative session that begins in January.

One question all citizens should be asking our lawmakers: Will they once again blatantly ignore Florida voters by failing to appropriate adequate funds for state conservation land buying?

Florida voters are divided on many things, but on this, we are clearly united. Just look at the numbers: Voters approved adding the Florida Water and Land Conservation Amendment (Amendment 1) to our state Constitution in 2014 by a landslide — it got a whopping 75 percent majority, more than any other ballot initiative or candidate. Its title was clear: “Water and Land Conservation — Dedicates funds to acquire and restore Florida conservation and recreation lands.”

Yet our state lawmakers in the past two years have boldly swiped the money that voters earmarked for conservation land-buying and instead spent it on other things it’s not supposed to pay for, like state equipment, government worker salaries and even insurance premiums. This year’s state budget had zero dollars for Florida Forever, a program that used to get $300 million a year to buy conservation lands. This is not right, and we need to demand that our elected officials fund conservation land-buying in the 2018 Legislative session.

Take a look at the map that accompanies this article. You can see the lands that our state could buy or have conservation easements on if lawmakers spent our tax dollars as the Water and Land Conservation amendment requires them to do. The map shows potential conservation lands with willing sellers which the state has already approved for purchase. The tax money is available to move forward with those purchases, but lawmakers aren’t doing their jobs by directing the money where it is supposed to go.

The Water and Land Conservation Amendment requires that, for the next 20 years, 33 percent of the proceeds from the already-existing real estate documentary-stamp taxes go for conservation land acquisition and restoration. When it became clear lawmakers were ignoring the voter mandate, our group — the Florida Wildlife Federation — along with the Sierra Club, St. Johns Riverkeeper, and the Environmental Confederation of Southwest Florida went to court on behalf of Florida citizens. Our case is still ongoing.

Floridians have made it clear that we want our land and water conserved as a legacy for future generations. We want a green infrastructure to support the assets that make this a great place to live. We want clean water for people and wildlife. We want places set aside so that every inch of our state is not covered by strip malls, golf courses and housing developments.

Legislators made a promise to represent us, and it’s wrong for them to keep ignoring us. Let your legislator know you are tired of this, and that you want the dollars you voted for conservation land-buying to be directed to conservation land-buying in the 2018 Legislative session.

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Manley Fuller is president of the Florida Wildlife Federation.

GOP faces showdown: Is it ‘mean’ or ‘compassionate’

My Republican friends (yes, I have them) loathe being called the party of mean people, and I completely understand why they feel that way.

What some see as mean, others see as principled. That’s particularly true with programs like Medicaid expansion in Florida, which many Republicans say costs too much and doesn’t work well enough.

I respect that point of view because it’s not looney, even if I don’t agree.

But when it comes to so-called Dreamers – the children of undocumented immigrants, many of whom came to the United States as infants and young children – we’re about to find out whether “mean” is stronger than “principled” among today’s Republicans.

In terminating the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program with a six-month delay, President Trump is throwing this issue back into the lap of the Republican-controlled Congress. The GOP is on the clock to come up with a plan that will do one of two things:

It will either protect about 800,000 children of undocumented immigrants, or deport them – never mind that life in the United States is all many of those so-called Dreamers know.

Place your bets on what they’ll come up with.

There are plenty of Republicans who are horrified by what this could mean.

In a statement, Florida Gov. Rick Scott made it clear that while he opposes illegal immigration and sanctuary cities, “These kids must be allowed to pursue the American dream, and Congress must act on this immediately.”

That is a reasonable position.

But Scott had a hand in creating this mess because he supported Trump last year in the presidential campaign. We all remember how Trump was whipping hard-right Republicans into a frenzy over immigration. He managed to tie that issue into just about every problem in America.

Crime? Undocumented immigrants.

Economic struggles? Undocumented immigrants.

Family values? Not for undocumented immigrants.

The issue became the catalyst for Trump’s idiotic border wall with Mexico and his draconian immigration proposals. And because President Obama used executive action that led to DACA, the Trump administration – intoxicated by its own rhetoric – is determined to reverse the policy, no matter the damage.

Now, bug-eyed zealots like Iowa U.S. Rep. Steve King are threatening lawsuits over the delay in shutting down DACA, even tweeting that “former #DACAs will make great Peace Corps volunteers in their home countries.”

Never mind, Captain Deportation, that the United States IS the home country for many housands of the people you want to kick out of the land of the free – no matter where they were born.

This is all they know.

Yeah, if the forced ejection of these people from their homes and families comes to pass, it will make dandy footage on the nightly news.

If they lose this latest battle for sanity and compassion, Republicans can protest all they want about unfair labels on their party. They can scream ‘til the cows come home that they are principled, not mean.

They will be wrong.

Joe Henderson: Keeping eye on Hurricane Irma while remembering 2004

I guess I should be scared that North Korea wants to vaporize us, but just now watching a nasty lady named Irma churn her way through the Atlantic, maybe toward us, has priority on my freak-out list.

I fear for the wonderful U.S. Virgin Islands, where I just visited about six weeks ago. They appear to be in the hurricane’s path. But after that, I can’t help wondering if this isn’t the “one” that could turn coastal Florida into the next catastrophe. It has happened before. Read more

Christian Cámara: In Florida insurance market, all is not equal

According to a study conducted by the risk assessment group Karen Clark & Co., if Hurricane Andrew hit today, it would cause nearly $50 billion of insured losses, compared to its $15.1 billion in 1992.

Indeed, Florida enjoys a relatively stable insurance market with more companies writing more policies. However, there are concerns that new, untested insurers may not survive a major strike. While it is true that several newer, smaller companies do not maintain the levels of surplus that more established companies do, they make up for it by purchasing reinsurance.

Reinsurance is insurance for insurance companies. Most isolated claims — fires, thefts or damage by random thunderstorms — are paid out of a company’s surplus, while larger losses from widespread catastrophes like hurricanes trigger insurers’ reinsurance contracts. Given Florida’s natural risks, the cost of reinsurance factors heavily in the calculation of homeowners insurance rates.

The good news is reinsurance prices have dropped precipitously over the past decade. This “buyer’s market” has allowed insurance companies to purchase more coverage for less, thus strengthening their finances and permitting them to write more policies. As such, Florida’s property insurers should be able to weather a large hurricane, all things being equal.

The bad news is, all things are not equal.

Currently, Florida’s insurance market is being undermined by a cottage industry exploiting an insurance practice called assignment of benefits (AOB). This allows a third-party contractor — such as a roofer or water-extraction company — to assume control of a homeowner’s policy to collect payment directly from the insurance company. Although a normal practice in other areas such as health insurance, Florida’s litigious environment has encouraged bad actors to inflate their bills and then file frivolous lawsuits for small, simple or even uncontested claims. The result: higher insurance rates.

But leaving AOB abuse unaddressed doesn’t just cause higher rates.

The models used to calculate an insurer’s risk exposure, which then determines how much surplus and reinsurance they must maintain, do not normally factor fraud and abuse costs. Therefore, a storm may actually wind up costing more than models suggest. Therein lies the problem: companies that have amassed enough resources to cover legitimate hurricane claims, as required by law, may not have enough to cover fraud, unnecessary litigation or other AOB-related abuse.

According to the Office of Insurance Regulation, water claims filed under an AOB have much higher severity — generally at least 50 percent more — than claims filed without one. In 2010, only 6 percent of claims were filed using an AOB; by 2015, the figure jumped to 16 percent and continues to rise.

These figures are all related to non-catastrophe water claims, so it’s impossible to predict how many hurricane claims would be filed utilizing an AOB. But one thing is certain: given current trends, if an Andrew were to strike today, the estimated $50 billion price tag may turn out to be a lot more with the addition of AOB abuse — and many insurers may not be prepared for it.

A moderate AOB reform package passed the Florida House of Representatives with bipartisan support this year, but died in the Senate. If higher rates aren’t enough to push senators to pass necessary reforms, perhaps the threat of insolvencies and thousands of unpaid hurricane claims may do the trick.

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Christian Cámara (@ChristianCamara) is a senior fellow at the R Street Institute, a member of the Stronger Safer Florida coalition.

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