Florida State Regulators Approve Homeowners Insurance Increase

08 Oct
Citizens Insurance Corporation

Citizens Property was created to fill the void and quickly became the seventh largest insurer in the state.


Florida state regulators recently approved a statewide average increase of 6.3 percent for homeowners who purchase homeowners insurance through the state-backed insurer, Citizens Property Insurance Corp.

Citizens Property was created in 2002. Its mission is to provide windstorm and general property insurance for homeowners who were unable to find coverage in the private market. Many insurers went bankrupt or stopped writing homeowners insurance in Florida after the devastation caused by Hurricane Andrew. Citizens Property was created to fill the void and quickly became the seventh largest insurer in the state.

The rate hikes will take effect next January and will hit policyholders differently. Homeowners who currently have multiperil polices will see their policy premiums go up roughly 4.4 percent which translates into $111 per policy. Homeowners with a wind-only policy will experience a 10.5 percent increase or roughly $265 per policy.

Citizens Property Insurance Corp. originally applied for an average increase of 7.3 percent for wind-only and multiperil policies rates but regulators reduced that rate to 6.3 percent. The increase includes a base rate along with sinkhole coverage where needed. The rate increase also includes a cash build-up factor of 4.87 percent. This is the fourth year in a row that Citizen’s rates have increased. Sinkhole insurance rates also went up.

While Citizens officials claimed that reforms put in place in 2011 have helped reduce sinkhole losses by an estimated 52 percent, the losses suffered by the insurer were still high enough to justify a 207 percent increase in sinkhole rates. The majority of the losses were located in just three counties.

Sinkhole claims in Pasco and Hernando counties justified a 20 percent rate increase while Hillsborough county saw a 50 percent increase. This will push the average premium in Pasco County from $1,829 to $2195, a $366 increase. Hernando County residents will see premiums head up $338 from to an average of $2,026. Hillsborough County premiums will average $574 after the increase.

In the other 64 counties there will be no rate increases applied to sinkhole rates.

According to Citizens, the rate increases are necessary to assist the company in reaching its goal of having actuarially sound rates. The final numbers are not in yet as to how many homeowners will see a premium increase.

The Florida Office of Insurance Regulation recently approved a plan by 10 insurers to remove roughly 400,00 policies at the end of the current hurricane season in November.

A clearinghouse that is being established for next year will require policyholders to shop the private market before being covered by Citizens. Executives at Citizens hope this will lead to a significant drop in the number of homeowners who are covered by Citizens.