Citizens Property Insurance rate hearing scheduled for Tampa
The Office of Insurance Regulation has scheduled a hearing on rate increases proposed by Citizens Property Insurance for Sept. 13 at 4 p.m. at the Tampa Convention Center. Typically, such hearings are held in Tallahassee.
But outcry over a proposal for enormous increases in sinkhole insurance rates prompted a change of venue. The state-run property insurer has proposed raising rates for the policies by an average of 429 percent statewide, and more than 2,000 percent in some parts of the state, including the Tampa Bay area.
"Regulators decided to conduct the Citizens’ rate hearing in Tampa due to the sinkhole risk in this area, and to allow the consumers most affected by the sinkhole issue to have an opportunity to provide input," said Brittany Perez, a spokewoman for OIR.
Several state lawmakers, including Senators Charlie Dean and Mike Fasano and Rep. John Legg called for hearings in areas most affected by the rate hikes.
"I appreciate OIR and Insurance Commissioner Kevin McCarty accepting our request for a public hearing on Citizens proposed rate increases," Fasano said. "We encourage everyone to attend if they can and voice their opposition to Citizens' unafordable and unconsionable premium increases."
The hearing is likely to draw a crowd.
"We'll be there in droves," pledged Sean Shaw, founder of Policyholders of Florida, which has scheduled rallies opposing the rate increases for Tuesday in Pasco County.
Comments on the rate proposal can be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org, with the word Citizens in the subject line.