Having Affordable Coverage Florida
This page is a continuation of the article on HACFL, please see the Homeowners Against Citizens page for the initial part.
Having Affordable Coverage Florida is the new name of Homeowners Against Citizens according to Baird Helgeson of the Tampa Tribune, and perhaps from the HAC web site itself. According to Ginny Stevans, HAC President:
First let me explain the name change from Homeowners Against Citizens to
Having Affordable Coverage. When this group started there were about 7
people who went to the meeting that Citizens had at the Spartan Manor. They
were all sitting together and all on Citizens Insurance. They coined the
name Homeowners Against Citizens because they believed the insurance crisis
was a Citizens (company) problem only and that all the problems were caused
by Citizens. As the group expanded it became evident that most of the
problems that Citizens Insurance had was not because of Citizens but because
of legislation that Citizens had to follow. Also as the membership grew in
the organization it was evident that not only customers of Citizens
Insurance were seeing outrageous increases but most homeowners with all
types of insurance companies were also having an insurance crisis. We have
always been committed to fighting insurance increases so we changed the name
not our fight. It is just part of the growth of a new group.
HACFL Internal Problems
I contacted HAC four times volunteering to help them out with their web site and also with an idea that may help them raise some money. I didn't receive any sort of response. I finally did get in touch with them, and so I think that the lack of response may be due to an overzealous spam filter!
I was interested to see on TBO.com the following report that HAC's interim president quit because of allegations that offers of volunteer help were ignored! I am one of the people who sent an email to the individuals on then board or to the board as a whole.
Harold Polsky quit as the group's interim leader via e-mail before posting his resignation on an Internet chat site.
"It has come to my attention that there are some people in the organization who feel I have not been doing an adequate job," his notice July 27 states. "They feel that I have ignored people who have contacted me wanting to volunteer to help, that my direction is wrong, or that I have ignored the wishes of the members.
"First of all, let me state here right now and emphatically that I have not received a single phone call or e-mail from anyone offering to volunteer for anything within the organization."
Harold and his wife Barbara used to maintain the Homeowners Against Citizens web site. If you go to where they formerly hosted it, here is what it says:
This site is no longer affiliated with H.A.C. Florida, Inc.
If you got to this page from a link on the hacfl.org web site you need to know that they are in violation of U.S. Copyright Laws and have inserted word for word the pages previously created and written solely by Barbara Polsky.
The H.A.C. Florida, Inc. organization was never given permission to use the pages created by Barbara Polsky exactly as she had written them and they were expected to reword the pages to reflect their new direction and leadership which they have not done.
It looks like there is a bit of bad blood there.
Having Affordable Coverage Florida Board Members
I looked up most of the current board members of HAC as I was interested to find out if it was really some sort of neighborhood group which was suffering growing pains as it tried to accommodate a statewide audience.
STEVANS VIRGINIA M,
NEW PORT RICHEY FL
I spoke to Ginny Stevans at length and found her to be a articulate and determined young woman who certainly has donned the role of president of HAC with enthusiasm. She was initially irritated by this site which she felt was trying to slight HAC as a Pasco County only group. Some of Ms Stevans' remarks are on these pages, but in the interests of fairness you can find them all on the HAC Florida Insurance page. I was just reporting the facts. The St Pete Times has an article about her being the president of Homeowners Against Citizens.
The other board members are listed below:
KOWALCZYK CHRISTOPHER P,
ZOLOBKOWSKI DEBORAH M,
PORT RICHEY FL
NICKERSON EDWIN WILBUR,
NEW PORT RICHEY FL
MALINA FRANCES M,
TARPON SPRINGS FL
HOWARD CAROL JAKEY,
NEW PORT RICHEY FL
Former board member DEG NICOLE,
NEW PORT RICHEY FL
In January 2010, Ginny Stevans sent out the following e-mail to me:
We closed HAC and the website because there was lack of support from the
We paid for it out of our pockets for a while but could not keep it up.
believed after some of the small changes we were able to get that the
problems with their
increasing premiums were done with. That coupled with the "automatic"
dropping of sinkhole
coverage that lowered their premiums and apparently the bottom line was all
that most people
were concerned about, not realizing that it was not a premium discount but a
lowering of their
I am still involved and fighting as hard as ever but am doing it through
FCAN (Florida Consumer
Action Network) I am a board member and being that FCAN works on more then
one issue, unlike
HAC we have a little more room to fight in Tallahassee.
I have recently submitted a letter to the editor, as I have been continuing
to do over the last several
months trying to get people involved with the insurance fight again. Sadly
enough we are not in the
forefront of the news so people don't really know what is going on in
Tallahassee and won't until it
is too late if our elected officials have anything to do with it. Right now
there is a bill that has been
submitted that would totally deregulate insurance in Florida allowing
insurance companies to charge
what ever they want, increase when ever they want and there will be no OIR
(Office of Insurance Regulations)
to regulate those increases or to not allow the increases. They tried to
pass the same legislation
last year and did not have enough support because of pressure from consumers
but this year it is
being done most secretively.
I am sorry that HAC had to disband but there are still some that are
actively working on insurance
Now that homeowners insurance is no longer in the forefront of the media you
can probably guess that there are things going on in Tallahassee that you
are not aware of. I am sure you all remember a few years ago when our rates
skyrocketed and the insurance companies wanted increases in the 300% range.
Well along with our fight in Tallahassee we had the support and the fact
that insurance is regulated by the Office of Insurance Regulations. The
"OIR" is in charge of the final approval or denial of any rate increases.
This is the reason we have seen smaller increases then the outrageous
increases requested by the insurance companies. Well that may be all over
with if two legislators, Senator Mike Bennett, R-Brandon, and Rep. Bill
Proctor, R-St. Augustine have it their way. Together they have filed bills
to deregulate property insurance rates in Florida. SB 876 and HB 447 would
allow residential insurers to set rates without the approval of the OIR.
What this means to you and I is the fact there is no watchdog for the
people, another words the insurance companies can charge what ever they
want! They say that it gives consumers "choice" and that it will attract
more companies to Florida. In fact there has not been one insurance company
that said it would enter Florida if the market was deregulated.
Insurance companies have been hard fighting behind the scenes in Tallahassee
trying to increase your insurance premiums and now with the thought of
deregulation they may get what they want and more! So if you do not "choose"
higher rates and you think the insurance companies need to be regulated so
they can't charge you what ever they want then PLEASE call, write, fax, or
email not only this two Senator and Representative but your own, let them
know you want, and Florida needs to have insurance companies regulated!