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Citizens Rate Hike, Reduction

July 8th, 2009 by flanews

A three year Citizens Property Insurance rate freeze will be lifted in January and most customers will be paying more. Wednesday, the Citizens Insurance Board voted for a 10 percent rate hike but they also voted to allow some rates to drop 10 percent. As Whitney Ray tell us, thousands of Citizens customers have been paying too much for coverage.

State run Citizens Property Insurance is backing 415 billion dollars of the riskiest real estate in Florida, but Citizens collects only two billion dollars in premiums. Starting in January most customers will pay more in an attempt to lessen the states burden, but some could actually pay less.

Recent reports show that an estimated 80,000 Citizens policy holders are paying too much. The Citizens Property Insurance Board voted for a 10 percent rate reduction for those paying too much. And 10 percent more for everyone else. Deputy Insurance Commissioner Belinda Miller calls the rate changes fair.

To get to an actuarial rate is going to go up and down all over the state, so phasing that in over a few years is not unreasonable, said Miller.

Industry experts fear a rate decrease will only prolong Citizens problem of not having enough money to pay claims.

When the wind blows we are going to be more on the hook for those losses than we are now if these rates are lowered, said Bob Lotane, a spokesman with NAIFA.

If a major hurricane hits Florida all property insurance policy holders are likely to pay higher assessments. The state Office of Insurance Regulation will have to sign off on any rate increases or decreases. Citizens has until the 15th to file their request for a rate change.

Posted in Hurricane Season, Legislature, State News, Weather | 1 Comment »

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