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State Farm's bid to raise homeowners rates 28% faces public hearing

State Farm will make its case in Tallahassee on Tuesday to hike insurance rates an average of 28 percent for its roughly 700,000 homeowners policies statewide.

The company, by far the largest private property insurer in Florida, also wants to raise premiums for commercial multiperil policies an average of 96 percent.

The Florida Office of Insurance Regulation, run by Insurance Commissioner Kevin McCarty, has slated a public hearing for the request at 1 p.m. in the Larson Building, 200 E Gaines St. in Tallahassee.

Those unable to attend can submit any comments or concerns via e-mail to ratehearings@floir.com until Feb. 22. The subject line of the e-mail should read "State Farm Florida."

Although Florida hasn't endured a direct hit by a major hurricane in five years, State Farm maintains it needs higher premiums to pay escalating noncatastrophic claims, citing sinkhole claims in particular.

The Illinois-based insurer was on the verge of pulling out of Florida two years ago, but struck a deal with the state allowing it to shed a limited number of policies while raising rates an average of 15 percent for those retained. Last year, regulators approved a 6.6 percent increase for the carrier.

State Farm's bid to raise homeowners rates 28% faces public hearing 02/14/11 [Last modified: Tuesday, February 15, 2011 8:32am]
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