Heritage not only 25% bill raiser with ‘greed’ rate, reader says

Consumers are saving $350 million a day due to lower gasoline prices.

Consumers are saving $350 million a day due to lower gasoline prices.

Whopping 25 percent premium increases in South Florida are not limited to Heritage Property & Casualty Insurance Co., reader Eugene Kaplan of Lake Worth says.

“I currently have Prepared Insurance out of Tampa who raised my premium from $2,174 to $2, 718 effective  May 21,” Kaplan said. “Needless to say I shopped around and got the same coverage for $1000 less. They claim they were allowed this substantial increase. It’s called,  ‘Agreed Excess Rate.’ It should be called a greed rate. Lol. There are probably more companies who were granted this rate as well.”

At the Post’s request, Chris August, director of sales and marketing for Prepared Insurance Co., provided this explanation:

“In an effort to continue providing a viable homeowners market in select areas of the State, sometimes it is necessary to exercise the use of Consent to Rate.  Consent to rate is a rate in excess of the approved filed rate with the Florida Office of Insurance Regulation.  The approved consent to rate percentage for Prepared Insurance Company is a flat 25% and a consumer friendly alternative to non-renewing a policy.  The cost of doing business in select areas is based on fluctuating reinsurance prices, rate adequacy and actual loss experience for Prepared Insurance Company.  After a thorough analysis of those variables, we identified a very small portion of our book of business that required a Consent to Rate offer to be included on their renewals.  Florida Statute 627.171 requires that not more than 5 percent of your personal lines book of business may have a consent to rate attached.  We are well below this threshold and fully compliant with the statute.  Policyholders who received a Consent to Rate renewal offer is encouraged to contact their agent for additional options with other companies to ensure their insurance needs are met.”

As The Palm Beach Post reported, Florida has not been hit with a hurricane in a decade, but Heritage officials have joined an industry chorus expressing concern about rising costs for non-storm claims such as plumbing leaks. Heritage has asked for a 14.9 percent average increase statewide, and 25 percent in much of Palm Beach County and South Florida.

Records reviewed by The Post show Heritage’s reported claim losses through 2015 have been falling, not rising, as a share of premiums.

This points to an urgent need for consumers in the region to take careful notice of what their insurance company is charging on the next renewal — and to shop around.

Check out your options

See which Florida home insurers get the best financial soundness ratings from three different agencies. Check out who generates the most consumer gripes. It’s all in the expanded Palm Beach Post Insurance Guide:

myPalmBeachPost.com/insuranceexplorer

 

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