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Regulators OKs Citizens’ Increases For Homeowners

October 9th, 2012 Written By Carol Pawley

 

Florida homeowners and businesses with Citizens Property Insurance Corp. will see double-digit premium increases in most cases early next year. Last Tuesday the Office of Insurance Regulation  approved a 10.8%  increase on homeowners’ policies and an 8.8%  increase on dwelling fire rates. Homeowners with sinkhole coverage will see an increase of 21.4% on their bills and those with dwelling fire policies who want sinkhole coverage will get a 44.8%  increase. Most take effect Jan. 1. Rates for wind-only policies take effect Feb. 1.

Citizens’ has been boosting its rates in recent years to reach parity with private commercial carriers in hopes of shedding hundreds of thousands of policies. Originally designed as the “insurer of last resort,” it has instead become the largest policy carrier for homes and businesses in Florida with roughly 1.4 million customers. However, its maximum exposure far exceeds its financial ability to pay claims in a timely fashion without further charging policyholders or assessing non-Citizens insurance buyers, company officials say.

Regulators last month approved another 60,000 policies for removal from Citizens’ and earlier approved 150,000 policies for acquisition by four Florida-based companies beginning in November. Citizens’ policyholders were to be notified of the take-out request Oct. 1, and will have 30 days to accept or reject the offer. If policyholders do not respond, they’ll be “assumed” by a private sector company.

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