Fla. Senate votes to shift Citizens policies

THE ASSOCIATED PRESSApril 26, 2014 

TALLAHASSEE -- Homeowners seeking coverage from Citizens Property Insurance could wind up getting policies from unregulated out-of-state insurers.

The Florida Senate on Friday voted 22-16 for a property insurance bill that could result in homeowners seeking coverage from Citizens to be shifted to a private surplus line insurance company.

Surplus line companies are not subjected to the same regulations as companies based in the state.

Several senators objected to the legislation, including Republicans who live in areas with heavy concentrations of customers with the state-created Citizens.

Sen. David Simmons, R-Altamonte Springs, defended the bill and said it would give homeowners another choice for coverage.

The Republican-led Legislature has taken steps the last few years to try to steer people away from Citizens. Citizens currently has slightly more than 938,000 policyholders.

Pension plans

Under another bill passed by the Florida House on Friday, Florida could try to steer public employees away from the state's traditional pension plan.

The House voted 74-44 on Friday for a measure that would stop elected officials and top employees in state government from enrolling in the state's tradi

tional pension plan.

The legislation would also automatically place newly hired public employees in an investment 401(k) plan if the employees failed to make a choice within eight months of starting their jobs.

The measure would not take effect until July 2015.

A similar proposal is moving in the Florida Senate, but it's unclear if the measure will pass.

House Speaker Will Weatherford has made changes to Florida's pension system a top priority but has had trouble winning support from senators.

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