LONDON, June 13, 2012 – Representing Florida’s Realtors and the interests of the state’s real estate industry, Florida Realtors® President Summer Greene and Senior Vice President of Public Policy John Sebree traveled to the United Kingdom this week with Gov. Rick Scott and other key business leaders to show British companies and individuals that “Florida is a great place to do business.”
“Encouraging business investment and diversification is vital for Florida’s future, and that’s the goal of Gov. Scott’s business missions,” said Greene, regional manager of Better Homes and Gardens Real Estate Florida 1st in Fort Lauderdale. “The state’s economy and real estate markets are linked. Whether someone is looking for investment properties, a second home or a primary residence – like employees of British companies locating jobs in Florida – the governor makes real estate a main selling point on these trade missions. He extols the benefits of Florida real estate everywhere he goes, in every meeting.”
Timed to coincide with the Farnborough International Air Show, the trade mission to the U.K. began July 8 and included meetings with leading professionals in the aerospace and aviation sectors at the air show, which is one the largest, most internationally attended events for that industry, according to Enterprise Florida. The Sunshine State is home to 12 aviation military bases, three spaceports and dozens of colleges and academic programs that offer aerospace and aviation training.
During the four-day event, Greene and Sebree met with numerous U.K. real estate professionals and organizations, including a first discussion with the Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) about a bilateral agreement on global standards in real estate. They also met with the leadership of Hamptons International, the largest real estate company in the U.K.
“Florida has a long-standing and positive relationship with the National Association of Estate Agents in the U.K., but this meeting with RICS opens a new dialogue for us,” Sebree said. “RICS is known as the preeminent organization for professionals working in the land, property and construction sectors in the U.K.”
Gov. Scott met with tourism officials during the trip as well. Britain is Florida’s third largest source of tourists behind Canada and Brazil.
"The United Kingdom is Florida’s largest foreign direct investor employing over 39,000 Floridians, and Florida is the largest long-haul destination for U.K. nationals, with 1.3 million visiting the state every year… "
The U.K. business mission wrapped up with a roundtable discussion with senior officials of Lloyd’s of London, a highlight of the trip for Florida Realtors, Sebree noted. Lloyd’s bills itself as the world’s specialist insurance market. Unlike many other insurance brands, Lloyd’s is not a company; it’s a market where member insurance companies join together as syndicates to insure risks.
“It seemed clear that Lloyd’s officials see Florida as an important market,” Sebree said. “During the roundtable discussion, which included Florida Insurance Commissioner Kevin McCarty, we talked about getting more companies interested in writing policies in Florida, especially as regulatory changes make state-run Citizens Property Insurance Corporation (CPIC) less desirable.”