|By Steve Bousquet and Toluse Olorunnipa, The Miami Herald|
|McClatchy-Tribune Information Services|
Scott has ordered internal investigations into spending practices at the state-backed
But tackling the price of insurance is a different story.
When it comes to the cost of living, Scott talks about taxes and tuition, but insurance seems rarely part of the conversation.
While Floridians have dodged a hurricane for seven years, the rising cost of property insurance looms as a potential major issue in the upcoming race for governor -- the political equivalent of a large, dangerous weather disturbance.
Nearly half of all
Scott's predecessor and possible future opponent,
That's not Scott's nature. A conservative supporter of free markets, he wants to shrink Citizens and lure more private companies into the
In places such as
Scott says his control over Citizens is limited: He appoints two of its eight board members.
The governor's most vocal stance on Citizens occurred at a Cabinet meeting in late 2011. Informed that the insurer was growing rapidly and struggling to control risk, Scott told then-president
"This is something we cannot continue to do," Scott said, harking back to a campaign promise to shrink risk at Citizens.
ONLY GETTING WORSE
By some measures, the problem has gotten worse since that Cabinet meeting. A month later, Wallace resigned, and was replaced by
In the months following, property insurance has receded from Scott's policy priority list, just as Citizens has become more aggressive than ever about remaking the company.
The Citizens board has cut back coverage, advanced a massive home re-inspection program and proposed uncapped rates on new policies.
The result is higher rates for less coverage, with homeowners facing huge spikes in insurance costs.
THE BACK DOOR
Citizens raised rates 10.8 percent last year, costing homeowners statewide an estimated