Saturday, September 23, 2006

Berfield Denies Being Influenced by Insurance Industry Contributions

Rep. Kim Berfield, the GOP nominee for Senate District 16, has been forced to deny that she is "carrying water for the insurance industry," as Bill Newton, Executive Director of the Florida Consumer Action Network said. She was even named legislator of the year in 2004 by the Florida Association of Insurance and Financial Advisors and the Florida Insurance Council.

Insurance interests have contributed $73,000 into her campaign, 13 percent of her total and almist 15 times as much as Rep. Charlie Justice, the Democratic nominee.

"It's not that I always agree with them," Berfield said. "I learn the issues, and I look them square in the eye and say I'm with you or I'm against you and these are the reasons why."

During a time of skyrocketing premiums, the perception that a candidate is on the side of the insurance can be political poison. In a July debate, Rep. Frank Farkas, her opponent in the GOP primary, said she could not understand the difficulty many Floridians have paying their property insurance premiums because she does not property.

On the last day of the 2006 legislative session, Berfield voted for legislation that gave insurance companies the freedom to raise premiums up to 5 percent annually without regulatory review. It also established a state-funded matching grant for homeowners who make hurricane improvements.

"The tradeoff?" said Justice, who voted against the bill. "A grant program for rate hikes without government oversight."

Berfield defends her vote, saying she opposed an effort by insurance lobbyists for to get increases of up to 25 percent.

Below are a number of pieces of legislation and how the two candidates voted:

Senate Bill 1980 in 2006
* Kim Berfield: Yes
* Charlie Justice: No
It established a state matching grant to homeowners who make hurricane improvements. It also gave all insurance companies more leeway to raise premiums by 5 percent annually without regulatory review. It gave a new rate-setting structure for the state-run insurer of last resort, Citizens Property Insurance Corp., and created a new way to assess property insurance policyholders when Citizens runs a debt.

Senate Bill 1486 in 2005
* Kim Berfield: No
* Charlie Justice: No
The bill made some modest changes to the state property
insurance market, giving consumers some protection against being dumped by their insurance carrier after a storm and giving insurers the ability to get more money out of the hurricane catastrophe fund, particularly after multiple

House Bill 1937 in 2005
* Kim Berfield: Yes
* Charlie Justice: No
The bill placed limits on what insurance companies had to pay for buildings damaged by fire, wind, flooding and hurricanes.

Senate Bill 2488 in 2004
* Kim Berfield: Yes
* Charlie Justice: Yes
The bill expanded the capacity of the state-sponsored reinsurance fund, the Florida Hurricane Catastrophe Fund. It lowered the amount of storm-related claims insurance carriers would have to pay before the fund is used and raised the maximum post-hurricane assessment on Florida policyholders.

Senate Bill 50A in 2003
* Kim Berfield: Yes
* Charlie Justice: No
The bill, considered flawed even among supporters, was the most comprehensive change to the state's workers' compensation law in nearly a decade. It made it more difficult for injured workers to collect permanent total disability payments. It also limited the amount of money attorneys for the injured could receive. The Florida Office of Insurance Regulation recently said the bill resulted in a 39 percent
statewide average rate decrease.


At 9/25/2006 08:54:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Could the choice be any clearer than in this race ?

At 9/28/2006 11:32:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

crystal clear. I will pass on Ms. Insurance

At 10/02/2006 10:25:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

ST PETERSBURG: After weeks of a steady flow of information and evidence linking Kim Berfield to the Insurance Industry, the Berfield campaign mounted a new round of hypocritical smear ads against State Representative Charlie Justice.

Incredulously, the new attack ads falsely label Charlie Justice as an Insurance Industry beneficiary despite the fact that Berfield is commonly known as the "Darling of the Insurance Industry" and has raised more money from the insurance industry than any other state senate candidate in Florida.

Last week the St Petersburg Times pointed out Kim Berfield’s strong and undeniable ties to the Insurance Industry (with well over $73,000 in campaign contributions) and showed clear evidence of her voting history in favor of the Insurance Industry, including her support of legislation that raised homeowners’ insurance rates by over 70-percent. Additional evidence proves Berfield has actually taken over $125,000 in campaign contributions from the Insurance Industry. Now the Berfield campaign has launched new ads in a blatantly hypocritical attempt to persuade voters into thinking Charlie Justice was actually working for and voting with the Insurance Industry.

“I’ve always questioned Ms. Berfield’s voting record but now to see her flat out lie and try to label me as the Insurance Industry insider is a new low for her,” stated Charlie Justice. “Frankly, it would be laughable if it wasn’t so sad.” “I’m proud of my record of standing with Florida families against Special Interests and I’m confident that the voters of District 16 will see through Kim’s misleading and false claims,” stated Justice.

“Constituents know Charlie Justice is standing up for them and that he understands their pain. He and his family live the insurance crisis personally. His family was non-renewed by their insurance company, dumped into Citizens' and saw their rates tripled. For Charlie this is not just something on a political brochure,” stated Mitch Kates Campaign Manager for Charlie Justice.

“What would you expect from someone who pays no homeowners insurance premiums and pays no property taxes, moved into the district in order to run for a political seat and had a “leadership” slush fund opened to calculate her next political stepping stone…We need people who care about our community all the time. Not just when elections roll around,” stated Kates. “Kim Berfield doesn’t fully understand how the homeowners’ insurance crisis is affecting real families in the Tampa Bay area because it doesn’t affect her.”

At 9/20/2010 05:19:00 AM, Anonymous Jhon smith said...

really thanks for sharing information about passing of insurance...


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