Citizens Insurance looks for average new rate hike of 11.5% in state
Citizens Insurance is looking for a new increase in rates and it would take effect right after hurricane season ends.
The proposal is expected to go before the Citizens Board later this month with a hike estimated to be about 11.5% for an average residential policy and taking effect Dec. 16.
"It doesn’t sit well with me and I’m pretty sure anybody on a fixed income," Citizens policy holder Maria Berrios said.
The rate proposal is a revision of a previous request that was sent back by state regulators.
"Actually, Citizens needs a bigger rate increase because of the thousands of policies that are going into Citizens," Robert Norberg of Arden Insurance in Lantana said.
Citizens over the last year has grown incredibly with nearly 1.4 million policies as more private insurers have canceled policies and left the state.
Recently, Citizens has started moving more than 200,000 policyholders into private insurers under an assumption program that can cost property owners more money.
Republican state lawmakers passed reforms earlier this year, which they hope will attract more private insurers and spark competition.
“South Florida has always been the biggest operator under Citizens, and it continues to grow because all the carriers aren’t interested in South Florida,” Norberg said.
Also, some Citizens policyholders may no longer be eligible for coverage if a private company offers to take over their policies. In "depopulation," Citizens will let a policeholder know a private company wants to take over the policy. If that private company's premium is within 20% of the Citizens premium, the homeowner would no longer be eligible for Citizens.
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