Fasano: Let's have special session to deal with radical Citizens sinkhole increases

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There are serious concerns what the rate hikes (which the governor admits are "staggering") could mean for homeowners who are mandated by their mortgage lender to buy sinkhole insurance coverage. When asked if he thinks people could lose their homes, Fasano said he thinks there's a "good chance that's going to happen," and recounted a recent conversation with a senior citizen in his district office who expressed concerns because her mortgage with U.S. Bank, which is financed by Fannie Mae. Fannie Mae requires the borrower to have sinkhole coverage.

"She's going to either have to find a new lender that doesn't require sinkhole coverage, or be forced to pay a 400 percent increase here in Pasco County," the state Senator said, adding that doesn't include paying for the other factors that people pay for in Florida, especially on the coasts for their insurance, like windstorm, fire and theft.

Citizens says they must raise their rates so dramatically because of because fraudulent and frivolous sinkhole claims, which they say is devastating their business model.

SB 408 is the piece of legislation passed by the House and Senate that has allowed Citizens to go whole hog in raising their rates so dramatically. Fasano says if there is a special session, he wants to see SB 408 repealed, and go back to the previous law, which allowed Citizens to raise their rates with a 10 percent annual increase, which he says would ultimately allow the state run insurance company to get back to fiscal health, albeit at a much slower pace than that company says it can now afford to stay in business.

  • Mike Fasano

Pasco County Republican state Senator Mike Fasano agrees with the notion that the Florida Legislature should convene a special session to deal with the radical rate increases for those with sinkhole policies with Citizens Insurance.

Fasano has already written a letter to Insurance Secretary Kevin McCarty calling for meetings to be held in the areas most affected by the incredible rate hikes, which in some cases are 2,000 percent higher than what residents with Citizens in the Tampa Bay area have been paying for their sinkhole insurance (He's now been joined by other lawmakers in making that request ).

Speaking to this reporter on WMNF's Last Call program, Fasano reacted with disdain to the published remarks that Governor Rick Scott has made about the rate hikes on Wednesday. Scott said "This proposal is the unfortunate result of politicians playing politics for too long by keeping rates artificially low."

"I'd like to invite Governor Scott to West Pasco where people have a double digit unemployment rate," he said.

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