At TaxWatch confab, Rachel Plakon, David Smith acknowledge work remains on insurance rates
Rachel Plakon and Davis Smith at Florida TaxWatch. Photo via Florida TaxWatch.

Smith said the House wasted some time this year, but said reforms are slowly kicking in.

State Rep. David Smith voiced regret the Florida House spent too much time this year on controversial bills which had little chance of becoming law.

“We wasted a lot of time in the House hearing bills that had no Senate sponsor … that we’re not going to ever go anywhere,” Smith said.

But he and state Rep. Rachel Plakon told Florida TaxWatch members there’s already work underway on critical issues to Floridians like property insurance rates.

The lawmakers spoke at the organization’s spring meeting in Winter Park, and covered prospects from allowing policy holders to switch carriers if they find a better rate and to look at changes to how Florida charges property taxes, including doing away with them altogether.

Plakon said a complete abolishment of property taxes in Florida merited study. She noted a bill was filed this year (HB 1371) that would call for the Office of Program Policy Analysis and Government Accountability to explore such a remake of Florida’s tax structure. The bill, by state Rep. Ryan Chamberlin, a Belleview Republican, never moved through committee this Session.

“One Representative had a bill to abolish property tax and just create a regular sales tax, which is an interesting thought and probably needs to be studied, but I think that is something that we probably need to look at,” she said. “I think we’re doing a good job, but we can always do better.”

As far as insurance rates, Smith said the Legislature can only have so many impact on what is a private service typically bound by contract between policyholders and carriers. He did say lawsuit abuse bills passed in recent Sessions are starting to have an impact on the market, and also touted the elimination of assignment of benefits, something he believed was driving frivolous lawsuits.

“The actions and the bills that we passed since the Special Session in December of 22, regular Session at 23, we did a little bit this year, we’re moving in the right direction,” Smith said. “I think it’s in the last 10 weeks, we’ve had six new carriers come into Florida and start writing policies. Competition is going to drive those rates down. And now we are allowing surplus lines, which we’ve never allowed to write insurance policies in Florida, they can come in now.”

Surplus lines are providers who write policies akin to those most famously provided by Lloyd’s of London for specialized insurance services.

Jacob Ogles

Jacob Ogles has covered politics in Florida since 2000 for regional outlets including SRQ Magazine in Sarasota, The News-Press in Fort Myers and The Daily Commercial in Leesburg. His work has appeared nationally in The Advocate, Wired and other publications. Events like SRQ’s Where The Votes Are workshops made Ogles one of Southwest Florida’s most respected political analysts, and outlets like WWSB ABC 7 and WSRQ Sarasota have featured his insights. He can be reached at [email protected].

One comment

  • Michael K

    April 14, 2024 at 4:04 pm

    Ya think?

    Once more, Republicans, too little, too late.

Comments are closed.


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