Three months after Charlie Lydecker was appointed to the Florida Citizens Property Insurance Corp. Board of Governors, some are questioning that appointment after his involvement with another, highly criticized program that provides care for brain-injured children.
The Miami Herald newspaper quoted the mother of a 3-year-old who is enrolled in the Neurological Injury Compensation Association program, known as NICA.
“Charlie Lydecker should not be appointed to any position in a public office,” Michelle Perez said. “He did not respect the families at NICA. How can you believe he respects others?”
Lydecker was appointed by Florida’s chief financial officer, Jimmy Patronis, in late May to serve on the Citizens board. His term ends in 2025. The Herald reported that Lydecker, a well-known Daytona Beach insurance executive who has contributed to Patronis’ and other Florida political campaigns, came under scrutiny while he was board chairman for NICA.
Lydecker resigned under fire from the association in 2021, as did all other members of the NICA board. Parents of children in the program had accused the board and NICA’s director of amassing $1.7 billion in assets while protecting insurers but forcing families to wait months for medication, nursing care and wheelchairs, the Herald reported in a series of articles last year. The program spent more on professional fees than it did on care for the injured children, the reports said.
The Neurological Injury Compensation Association was created by the Florida Legislature in 1988 as a way to protect obstetricians from massive jury verdicts when infants suffer catastrophic injuries in childbirth. Families that participate accept the NICA payouts and can be barred from litigation against their childrens’ physicians.
After the Herald’s articles in 2021, Patronis agreed that the NICA program needed reforms.
“We need to make sure these kids and their families aren’t being nickel-and-dimed,” Patronis wrote last year, the Herald reported. “This program needs to treat these children with kindness instead of treating them as though they’re a liability for shareholders.”
Lydecker’s tenure on the Citizens board began this month. He is also the CEO of Foundation Risk Partners in Daytona Beach, and he is on the state university system’s board of governors. Lydecker did not respond to requests for comment from the Miami Herald.
Citizens and Patronis’ office had not responded to request for comment from Insurance Journal Monday morning, but a spokesman for Patronis told the Herald that Lydecker “has spent his entire professional career in the property casualty market. It’s a fact that not only is Mr. Lydecker an expert in the property casualty space, but he is also an employer who is responsible for ensuring he can pay his employees, so that they can feed their families and pay the bills,” Collins wrote in a short statement to the Herald.
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