Make us your home page
Instagram

Citizens insurance premiums could jump 20 percent

A move to raise Citizens Property Insurance rates is picking up steam.

Senate President Jeff Atwater, R-North Palm Beach, said Thursday that legislators will let a three-year rate freeze for homeowners with policies under state-run Citizens expire this year. That means homeowners will start seeing higher bills — perhaps up to 20 percent higher — starting in 2010.

"We will have to allow Citizens' rates to begin to move closer to market-driven rates," Atwater said. "I will do so carefully and thoughtfully so that there's not an extraordinary knee-jerk that falls on the citizens of Florida that are so dependent on Citizens coverage."

Atwater's comments came the same day as a final meeting of a task force looking to return Citizens Property Insurance Corp. to its original status as an insurer of last resort. Earlier this month, task force members endorsed a recommendation that Citizens be allowed to gradually raise its rates, starting next year.

The task force suggests the Legislature cap Citizens' annual rate increase at a 10 percent statewide average. It also calls for an annual cap of 15 percent for any given territory and 20 percent for any single policy.

Without a plan to implement the increases gradually, Citizens policyholders face rate hikes of 20 to 30 percent next year, said Bruce Douglas, task force chairman and a former board chairman of Citizens Property.

Citizens hopes the increases will encourage property owners to take their business elsewhere, making it a smaller company.

Citizens has to file a rate case with the Florida Department of Insurance in July. Coastal home­owners and condo owners will be hit hardest by the increases.

State-backed Citizens was created by the Legislature in 2002 as an insurer of last resort for homeowners who could not get property insurance from other companies, but it has become the state's largest insurer with 1.1-million policies and $412-billion in exposure.

The task force is due to submit its report to the House, Senate and governor by Jan. 31.

Citizens insurance premiums could jump 20 percent 01/22/09 [Last modified: Thursday, January 22, 2009 10:38pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Pinellas construction licensing board needs to be fixed. But how?

    Local Government

    LARGO –– Everyone agrees that the Pinellas County Construction Licensing Board needs to be reformed. But no one agrees on how to do it.

    Rodney Fischer, former executive director of the Pinellas County Construction Licensing Board Rodney, at a February meeting. His management of the agency was criticized by an inspector general's report. [SCOTT KEELER   |   Times]

  2. New owners take over downtown St. Petersburg's Hofbräuhaus

    Retail

    ST. PETERSBURG — The downtown German beer-hall Hofbräuhaus St. Petersburg has been bought by a partnership led by former Checkers Drive-In Restaurants president Keith Sirois.

    The Hofbrauhaus, St. Petersburg, located in the former historic Tramor Cafeteria, St. Petersburg, is under new ownership.
[SCOTT KEELER  |  TIMES]

  3. Boho Hunter will target fashions in Hyde Park

    Business

    Boho Hunter, a boutique based in Miami's Wynwood District, will expand into Tampa with its very first franchise.

    Palma Canaria bags will be among the featured items at Boho Hunter when it opens in October. Photo courtesy of Boho Hunter.
  4. Gallery now bringing useful art to Hyde Park customers

    Business

    HYDE PARK — In 1998, Mike and Sue Shapiro opened a gallery in St. Petersburg along Central Ave., with a majority of the space dedicated to Sue's clay studio.

     As Sue Shapiro continued to work on her pottery in St. Petersburg, her retail space grew and her studio shrunk. Now Shapiro's is bringing wares like these to Hyde Park Village. Photo courtesy of Shapiro's.
  5. Appointments at Raymond James Bank and Saint Leo University highlight this week's Tampa Bay business Movers & Shakers

    Business

    Banking

    Raymond James Bank has hired Grace Jackson to serve as executive vice president and chief operating officer. Jackson will oversee all of Raymond James Bank's operational business elements, risk management and strategic planning functions. Kackson joins Raymond James Bank after senior …

    Raymond James Bank has hired Grace Jackson to serve as executive vice president and chief operating officer. [Company handout]