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Citizens Moves Forward with 11 Percent Rate Hike

December 20th, 2021 by Mike Vasilinda

The 52 private insurance companies writing polices in Florida lost a total of $847 million through the end of September, causing them to raise rates by 50 percent or more.

That’s forcing homeowners into Citizens, the state’s insurer of last resort, but if the state approves, those already in Citizens will also see double digit rate hikes.

With a Monday vote Citizens, the insurer of last resort in Florida, moved forward with across the board rate hikes of 11 percent for anyone who renews after August 1st 2022.

Citizens would then raise rates 12 percent across the board for renewals after January first 2023.

“The private carriers are non-renewing policies across the state. They are raising rates, high rates,” said Michael Peltier, a Citizens spokesperson.

Peltier told us lawsuits are driving the increases.

“Florida represents about 8 percent of the property insurance market across the country. However, at this time, we represent about 76 percent of all lawsuits relating to property insurance,” said Peltier.

Even with the hikes, Citizens’ own study shows it’s the cheapest alternative 97 percent of the time.

Legislative changes earlier this year require a homeowner to accept a private insurer as long as it is no more than 20 percent higher than Citizens’ rates.

But even with the new criteria, Citizens policies are mushrooming.

“Since January, Citizens policy count has risen about 38 percent,” said Peltier.

Under the legislation passed earlier this year, rate hikes can grow one percent a year, up to a 15 percent across the board in 2026.

“Trying to do what they can to bring Citizens rates more in line with what the private market charges,” said Peltier.

And the 11 and 12 percent hikes approved by the Citizens Board for next year and the year after must still get the okay from the state’s Office of Insurance Regulation.

Lawmakers are expected to make tweaks to insurance regulations when they meet in January, but any changes could likely take a year or two before consumers see any relief from rising costs.

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