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TALLAHASSEE, Fla.--Florida Gov. Charlie Crist on Thursday signed hurricane insurance legislation into law, ushering in sweeping changes to the state's property/casualty insurance market.
The controversial House Bill 1A--passed by state lawmakers earlier in the week and widely expected to win the governor's stamp of approval--made a series of changes to insurance regulations for Florida residents, including boosting the state's subsidy of insurance rates offered through two state-backed vehicles: the Citizens Property Insurance Corp. and the Florida Hurricane Catastrophe Fund.
Among other things, the new law repeals recently implemented and planned rate increases by Citizens--traditionally known as the state's insurer of last resort--and freezes any further rate increases during 2007. Citizens' rates are no longer required to be noncompetitive with the private market.
The legislation also: