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The grassroots organization fighting to stop unfair and unaffordable windstorm insurance rates, F.I.R.M. - Fair Insurance Rates in Monroe, announced today that they ...


F.I.R.M. forms powerful alliances in windstorm insurance battle

The grassroots organization fighting to stop unfair and unaffordable windstorm insurance rates, F.I.R.M. - Fair Insurance Rates in Monroe, announced today that they have formed an alliance with the law firm of Hogan & Hartson LLP in Washington, D.C. Patrick M. Raher, Partner at Hogan & Hartson offered their lobbying services pro-bono after attending a FIRM public forum meeting in Key West. Raher, F.I.R.M. organizers and local pro-bono counsel Robert Cintron, Jr. from the law firm of Morgan & Hendrick met today to map out their lobbying strategy on Capitol Hill. This alliance will coordinate F.I.R.M.’s efforts with windstorm insurance advocates such as Congresswoman Ileana Ros-Lehtinen. Ros-Lehtinen is co- sponsoring the Homeowners Insurance Availability Act of 2005 (H.R. 846) and the Homeowners Insurance Protection Act of 2005 (H.R. 4366). Both of these bills will establish a Federal reinsurance program to improve the availability of homeowners’ insurance.

Ros-Lehtinen has personally contacted Governor Bush, Florida Senate President Tom Lee, Florida House of Representative Speaker Allan Bense and Chairman of the House Financial Services Committee Michael Oxley requesting action on the pressing issue of windstorm insurance issues. F.I.R.M. has invited the Congresswoman to speak at their upcoming public forum and is awaiting her reply.

F.I.R.M. will also be extending speaking invitations to Attorney General, Charlie Christ and Florida Chief Financial Officer, Tom Gallagher to address this critical windstorm insurance premium topic at a future meeting to be announced.

In a very recent development, State Representative Ken Sorensen has requested that members of F.I.R.M. participate in his “Windstorm Insurance in the Florida Keys” workshop on Thursday, March 30th in Tallahassee. F.I.R.M. will be represented by Cindy DeRocher, Tommy Mack, Heather Carruthers and Robert Cintron, Jr., pro bono counsel for F.I.R.M. Also participating in this workshop will be Insurance Consumer Advocate Steve Burgess, Chairman of the House Insurance Committee Dennis Ross, Staff Director of the Insurance Committee Tom Cooper, Citizens Insurance Actuary and Representatives from Citizens, Linda Rae deGinder- President of the Johnson’s Insurance Agency as well as any Monroe County elected official available to attend.

One of the items that Representative Sorensen has asked Citizens, the Office of Insurance Regulation and Steve Burgess to provide is the data to justify increasing windstorm premium rates from $4.44 per $1,000 of coverage in 1998 to $18.52 ………..a 400% increase. Sounds like a question directly from F.I.R.M, doesn’t it?

We will keep you updated on our progress in Tallahassee

Press Release submitted by F.I.R.M. Media Spokesperson Teri Johnston @ [email protected]

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