Florida Reps. Bill Hager and Kevin Rader crossed party lines – and part of the Atlantic Ocean – to make a bipartisan appeal Monday to the Bermuda reinsurance industry and drum up investment in Florida’s $3 trillion insurance market.
At an Insurance Day Summit Bermuda conference, Hager, R-Boca Raton, and Rader, D-Delray Beach, were introduced as “truth tellers” by Stephen Weinstein, senior counsel to the RenaissanceRe reinsurance giant.
Weinstein said the pair is willing to overlook political differences in the common pursuit of stabilizing Florida’s insurance market.
Hager told executives in the audience that the Sunshine State’s insurance system relies too heavily on state backing.
Hager, who sponsored a bill in the 2013 session to reform Florida’s Catastrophe Fund, said the system has $17 billion in obligations but only $12 billion in capital, according to the Royal Gazette Online, a Bermuda newspaper.
That represents a risk for the state, Hager said, but also an opportunity for private investors.
“That gets them through the first storm, so the question is, what happens after that?” he said. “We want to move it away from the state of Florida and to the people in this room, who know how to manage risk much better than the state of Florida.”
Rader advised those in the audience to take a more active role in Florida legislative politics. Their knowledge of the insurance industry would pay off for the state – and their participation would pay off for their companies, he said.
“We want you to deploy capital into Florida, but it needs your help by being active, having a voice and showing up,” he said.
“These are complex issues most committee members don’t understand, we are dealing with members who don’t understand,” Rader added. “So it’s important for the people in this room to get involved in Florida politics. It will help your clients.”
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