Florida Governor Charlie Crist isn't exactly a friend to the insurance industry — his support for maintaining artificially low rates for coastal property insurance rates have driven State Farm and others from the state. However, his signature this week on a bill prohibiting "crash taxes" was a smart move.

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In May we featured an article by PCI's William Stander on the pernicious trend of cash-strapped local governments charging drivers involved in accidents and their insurers for providing emergency response services, with bills ranging from less than $100 to more than $4,000. While this is obviously a problem for the drivers and insurers, it's also bad news for the agents who have to explain the hidden charges to their policyholders — who already pay for this stuff through their taxes. And with so many states and municipalities hard hit by the recession, the trend was growing.

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Florida's move to end the "accident tax" makes it the eighth state to do so. It's a smart move for someone with political ambition who recognizes that this might not be a good time to ask hard-hit Florida taxpayers — almost 10 percent of whom don't have jobs.

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