Creating a national disaster insurance program backed by the federal government would encourage further coastal development in hazardous areas and would effectively subsidize the destruction of wetlands, dunes and other natural defenses to storm surge, Florida Wildlife Federation President Manley Fuller argues in an op-ed that appeared in a number of Florida daily newspapers.
Rather than creating a federal program that would further subsidize destruction of important fish and wildlife habitats, Florida lawmakers should turn their attention to scaling back the transfers of risk to Citizens Property Insurance Corp. and the Florida Hurricane Catastrophe Fund. With the state’s legislative session set to kick off Jan. 10, Fuller expressed hope that the interest the Senate Banking and Insurance Committee showed in early October for plans to shrink Citizens might continue:
In our opinion, people who choose to develop or redevelop in predictably high-risk areas should do so on their own dime, instead of relying on subsidies by the public, state or federal government. Citizens’ chief financial officer has predicted the insurer should reach 1.6 million policies by the end of 2011. Maybe this session, all of our elected officials will realize that continuing to “help” some Floridians by offering an unfunded insurance subsidy will ultimately place Florida’s solvency at risk, and lead to the destruction of critical coastal habitats which help protect Florida’s environment from storms and rising tides.