Thursday, January 1, 2009

A New Sheriff in Town

After nearly a decade of minimal regulatory oversight and most favored industry status, the Florida insurance companies are quickly learning that Governor Crist & Company will not tolerate bad behavior. The recent conflict in Tallahassee between the Allstate Insurance Company and Florida Insurance Commissioner Kevin McCarty has all the trappings of a classic showdown in the old West between the new Sheriff who promises to clean up Dodge and the entrenched railroad and cattle barons who want business as usual.

The insurance industry could do no wrong during the entire Jeb Bush tenure, which may have led Allstate to believe that it no longer needed to comply with the rule of law. This all changed with the move to require insurance executives to testify under oath and to produce key documents pertaining to its anti-consumer, predatory corporate practices. Who knows where this will lead. Likely increased governmental regulation and a return of consumers having an open door to governmental leaders. But will it lower rates? Likely not.

One thing is clear, there's a new Sheriff in town and he has willing deputies who are committed to cleaning up Tallahasee. The time has come for a balance between the rights of industry and the rights of consumers.

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