Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Florida Seniors Annuity Bill Dies in Committee

How does a bill to protect Seniors from unscrupulous annuity peddlers die in committee in the Florida House? Especially, after it passed 39 to 0 in the Florida Senate? It says on the Florida House web site that the Annuity Contracts for Seniors died in committee. Which committee? The Insurance, Business and Financial Affairs Policy Committee killed it on May 2, 2009. They also said that it was indefinitely postponed and withdrawn from consideration.

Why on earth would a bill that passes 39 to 0 in the Florida Senate get totally dismissed in the Florida House? We can only speculate that the insurance lobbying efforts were powerful and successful in squashing this bill to protect Seniors.

This bill would have limited all annuity contracts to 10 year surrender charges. It would have made it a felony to twist and churn Seniors out of their money to buy Annuities. Perhaps the biggest item in the bill was that if an insurance agent had previously lost their securities license, then they would automatically lose their insurance agent's license. Apparently, there are scores of insurance agents in Florida who have lost their securities licenses, but continue to do business as insurance agents. It seems to this humble blogger that getting rid of these insurance agents would be a good thing.

The first sign of a chink in the armor was when in the Senate version, the maximum surrender charge period was expanded from 5 years to 10 years. Alex Sink, CFO for the State of Florida wanted the 5 year surrender period, but it appears the insurance lobby won out by expanding that to 10 years.

Oh, the world of politics. Should we really be surprised that this bill died in the Florida House? I think not. What we have here folks, is an example of the insurance lobby at work. Not only were they successful in killing the bill, they were also successful in giving unscrupulous insurance agents new life to continue their misdeeds.