Citizens insurance customer? There’s a change in your rate change

State regulators approved a 6.6 percent statewide average increase for homeowners covered by state-run Citizens Property Insurance Corp. next year, and tens of thousands of Palm Beach County residents can expect about a 9 percent jump in premiums.

Chris Gardner (left), chairman of the Citizens board, and president Barry Gilway meet with the Post Editorial Board to discuss issues ahead of the Florida Legislative session in February. (Lannis Waters / The Palm Beach Post)

One twist: Because of unusual circumstances associated with Hurricane Irma, the new rates take effect May 1, not in February as originally requested.

The rate order “balances the needs of policyholders facing challenges from Irma” with a “responsibility to maintain a healthy property insurance market,” said Citizens board chairman Chris Gardner.

The average premium for a  single-family home in Palm Beach County would rise to $2,877 from $2,631, Citizens figured in its rate proposal. Costs will vary for individual policies and some customers, mostly outside South Florida, will see decreases.

Overall, regulators on Wednesday approved an increase only slightly lower than the 6.7 percent statewide hike Citizens wanted, which company officials blamed largely on inflated non-storm claims in South Florida such as plumbing leaks.

Citizens, Florida’s second largest property insurer, covers about 450,000 customers, with more than 42,000 in Palm Beach County.

Customers who get wind-only coverage from Citizens could fare a little better, with an approved increase just under 1 percent compared to a company request of 1.7 percent statewide. Such policies were projected to cost about 2.6 percent more in Palm Beach County in the company’s original request.

Rates in Monroe County have been frozen pending further review of storm damage there.

As of December 4, Irma had resulted in more than 850,000 claims against all  companies with insured losses of nearly $6.3 billion. Citizens said it expects to receive about 70,000 claims, including more than 9,000 from Monroe County, with losses expected to pass $1.2 billion.

Reader Comments 0

0 comments