Citizens CEO Barry Gilway defended the proposed 6.8 percent increase statewide and 9 percent for Palm Beach County homeowners.
“Proper rates not only provide the funds to keep our promises to our policyholders, but also provide competitive opportunities for private insurers to offer sometimes superior coverage at equal or lower premiums,” Gilway said.
Monroe County residents warned of a “economic storm” caused by premiums higher than ordinary teachers, firefighters and coaches in the Keys can afford.
Others from South Florida submitted written comments.
“Please stop the proposed Citizens homeowners insurance rate increases,” wrote Don and Gretchen Deresz of Miami.
They said they are already paying $7,000 per year for Citizens coverage of a house they bought for $50,000 in 1978, spending 15 percent of their retirement income just on property insurance, they said.
Original post: If a 9 percent rate hike doesn’t sit right with you, stand up and speak out.
Customers can watch live a public hearing Thursday in Tallahassee on a proposed rate hike of 6.8 percent statewide and 9 percent for Palm Beach County homeowners from state-run Citizens Property Insurance Corp.
To watch, tune in by computer at 9 a.m. Thursday on The Florida Channel, http://thefloridachannel.org/.
To comment until Sept. 1, email RateHearings@floir.com with “Citizens” in the subject line.
“As a Florida resident with coverage from Citizens, I am asking that you deny them their proposed rate hike increase, ” said Rosanne Strassberg of Miami, who commented by email. “As the regulator of insurance companies it is your job to insure Florida residents are not overcharged for their insurance or that you make decisions to benefit the companies over Florida residents. They seemed to have built up quite a sufficient emergency fund and are well placed to survive at this moment without an unwarranted increase.”
As The Palm Beach Post reported, the average annual premium for a standard HO3 homeowner policy in Palm Beach County would jump 9 percent to $2,668 from $2,448 if regulators from the state’s Office of Insurance Regulation approve the company’s request.
Citizens blames South Florida water-damage claims, such as from a plumbing leak, for pushing up costs despite the fact the company has more than $7 billion in surplus and the state has not been hit by a hurricane in more than a decade.
About 6,800 out of 47,162 Citizens customers in Palm Beach County would see a rate decrease, but most are looking at higher premiums.