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Insurance overhaul bill clears key Senate panel

4:38 PM, Mar 3, 2012   |    comments
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TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (AP) - The Senate Budget Committee has OK'd financial changes to Citizens Property Insurance Corp. and the Florida Hurricane Catastrophe Fund to gird them before one or more major storms hit Florida.

But critics say the changes might end up causing policyholders to shoulder more of the cost for post-hurricane damage claims.

The committee on Saturday cleared SB 1346, affecting Citizens, and an amendment from committee chair JD Alexander that dealt with the hurricane catastrophe, or "CAT," fund. The vote was 18-2, with Sens. Anitere Flores of Miami and Jim Norman of Tampa opposed. Both are Republicans.

Citizens is the state-backed insurer of last resort. The state-owned and -operated CAT fund offers insurance companies lower-cost reinsurance - policies that help protect the companies from overwhelming losses.

(Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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