Nobody in Florida government has spoken out more publicly and passionately on behalf of his constituency this year than Mike Fasano. The New Port Richey state Senator unsuccessfully fought against the passage of SB 408 this spring, a bill that ultimately led to outrageous rate hikes that Citizens Property Insurance announced earlier this summer for those who require sinkhole coverage.
The insurance company of last resort has become the only company that provides such coverage in the areas of the state most sensitive to sinkholes, namely Pasco, Hernando and Hillsborough Counties, where such rate hikes were projected to be over 2,000 percent.
But on the eve of a long-planned public hearing in Tampa on those rate hikes, Citizens Property Insurance board radically revised their original intentions, saying they wanted a more "modest" 50 percent hike, which might only be called modest in this world if you originally were going to 10 times that amount. In Tampa, such rates would rise from $155 to $233. And Citizens hasn't said that they would maintain that 50 percent cap going into 2013.
But Senator Fasano wasn't impressed. In a fiery 14-minute speech Tuesday afternoon at a public hearing in Tampa, Fasano blasted Citizens for making that change at the 11th hour "because they realized the rates they requested just 45 days ago was the wrong thing," adding "It's not only unaffordable, it's an economic disaster waiting to happen."
"Shame on Citizens," he said as hundreds in the audience in Ballroom D at the Tampa Convention Center erupted in cheers.