Friday, May 6, 2016

Florida GOP Frank Artiles

Florida Strong documentation:
1. Property appraiser by trade – It is asserted that the materials disseminated wrongfully assert that Mr. Artiles is a “property appraiser by trade.” However, from the documentation relied upon in describing Mr. Artiles’ occupation, it appears that he has described himself that way:
Artiles Works As A Public Adjuster & Appraiser By Trade. “Newly-elected State Representative Frank Artiles, a public adjuster, appraiser and umpire by trade, held a teleconference on November 22, 2010, with the goal of introducing himself to Florida insurance industry representatives and other interested parties and discussing their concerns, such as fraud and other issues impacting the property and casualty market.” [Colodny, Fass, Talenfeld, Karlinsky & Abate law firm, newsletter, 2010]
2. Artiles voted to raise property taxes – It is asserted that Mr. Artiles’ support of HB 7099 “has nothing to do with property taxes.” However, from the documentation relied upon in describing the impact of that legislation, that is also a true statement:
Artiles Voted For Tax Package HB 7099. On February 11, 2016, the Florida House of Representatives approved their tax package version, 96-17. Representative Frank Artiles voted Yes on this measure. [HB 7099, 2/11/16]
HEADLINE: “Sen. Tom Lee faults Gov. Rick Scott’s budget, built ‘on the backs of local taxpayers'” In February 2016, the Tampa Bay Times
reported, “You can add the influential voice of Senate Appropriations Chairman Tom Lee, R-Brandon, to the list of Republicans howling about Gov. Rick Scott’s budget — and its heavy reliance on higher property tax bills. As Lee’s committee prepares to wade through, amend and pass its first budget proposal Wednesday, Lee had choice words for Scott’s plan to increase spending for public schools by taking advantage of higher property values for homes and businesses. ‘We’re building the increase on the backs of local taxpayers and then we’re running around the state and doing a victory lap,’ Lee told the Times/Herald. ‘I’m opposed to the way we are funding public education largely on the backs of local taxpayers.'” [Tampa Bay Times, 2/3/16]
3. Artiles voted to protect insurance companies and rates have risen – It is asserted that Representative Artiles’ support of SB 1770 does not support the statements made. However, once again, the materials relied upon by Florida Strong suggest otherwise:
Artiles Vowed To Protect Insurance Companies Right After Being Elected. On a teleconference with the insurance industry in 2010, Artiles said, “I want to protect
insurance companies to make sure they do make a profit, because at the end of the day, I am a Republican.” [Colodny, Fass, Talenfeld, Karlinsky & Abate law firm, newsletter, 2010]
SB 1770 Created A Clearinghouse Intended To Help Protect Consumers. In June 2013, News Service of Florida reported, “Here are highlights of some of the bills taking effect July 1: … SB 1770: The Citizens Property Insurance Corp. overhaul, less imposing than initially proposed, still prevents coverage for new homes in high-risk, environmentally sensitive coastal areas, creates an internal inspector general position, and a clearinghouse intended to shift at least 200,000 policies into the private market.” [News Service of Florida, 6/29/13]
Tampa Bay Times: “To Say The [State-Run] Clearinghouse Has Underperformed Expectations Is An Understatement.” In January 2015, the Tampa Bay Times reported, “To say the clearinghouse has underperformed expectations is an understatement. Eleven months after its launch in January 2014, only 12,000 out of 148,000 policies run through the clearinghouse — 8 percent — were found ineligible for Citizens because a private insurer had offered coverage within 15 percent of Citizens’ rates.” [Tampa Bay Times, 1/9/15]
Said Clearinghouse Has Only Helped Private Insurers Line Their Pockets. In January 2015, the Tampa Bay Times reported, “Critics say the results show the clearinghouse is a waste of money. Private insurers are already writing more business and a separate ‘takeout’ program has been booming, with private insurers taking hundreds of thousands of policies out of Citizens.” [Tampa Bay Times, 1/9/15]
Private Insurers Now Have More Flexibility To Raise Rates On Consumers.In January 2015, the Tampa Bay Times reported, “They have more flexibility to raise rates of takeout policies. The clearinghouse option lets customers go back to Citizens during the first three years if their new company hikes premiums more than 10 percent.” [Tampa Bay Times, 1/9/15]
HEADLINE: “Homeowners insurance: Floridians pay more than double U.S. average.”In January 2015, the Tampa Bay Times reported, “In fact, Florida homeowners are now paying more than double the national average. Average insurance premiums statewide for the most common type of homeowners policy rose nearly 8 percent in 2012 to $2,084, according to data released this week from the National Association of Insurance Commissioners. That makes Florida the first state to cross the $2,000 mark in average premiums and widens the gap between the next two states on the list, both of them coastal: Louisiana (average premiums of $1,742) and Texas ($1,661). The national average: $1,034. For the record, Florida’s premiums are 102 percent higher.” [Tampa Bay Times, 1/21/15]
In sum, Florida Strong stands by the statements contained in its materials as such assertions are, in fact, true.

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