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Your letters to the Business section: Citizens Insurance a hot topic

Thelma Applegate of Spring Hill says she never received a notice from takeout company Olympus Insurance that it was assuming her Citizens policy and, after Citizens told her the switch was being made, she had to scramble to get her agent to find an opt-out form to stop the change.
Thelma Applegate of Spring Hill says she never received a notice from takeout company Olympus Insurance that it was assuming her Citizens policy and, after Citizens told her the switch was being made, she had to scramble to get her agent to find an opt-out form to stop the change.
Published Nov. 15, 2014

Insured push back | Nov. 9

Feeling lucky to be a renter, not owner

Every time there's another article regarding homeowners' insurance, I thank my lucky stars that my husband and I are renters and only have to worry about contents insurance, which is inexpensive and relatively trouble-free to purchase. In our 54 years of marriage, we've owned five houses (one overseas), a condo in Seminole back in the early 2000s, and a live-aboard boat, and I can confidently state that the property insurance industry in Florida is nothing short of mind-boggling in its dealings with its customers. Are we the least bit tempted to buy a house? What do you think?

Sue E. Conrad, North Redington Beach

Insured push back | Nov. 9

Fearful of losing Citizens coverage

We have had our problems with Citizens trying to push us to other insurers and one insurer that did the same thing, stating we were sent a letter telling us they were taking over our insurance, which we never received!

Please review our attached various correspondence to the other insurance companies, stating that we did not want to leave Citizens nor have we ever requested to do so. We also have requested to the point of begging our insurance agency to stop these opt out forms, to no avail. It seems like our agent gets a commission for every customer they get to leave Citizens. We are afraid to leave this agent for fear it would give Citizens a reason to drop us!

Timothy & Patricia Wohlfiel, Hudson

Insured push back | Nov. 9

Tired of the years of harassment

It is so frustrating being a Citizens customer and constantly being harassed to change insurance companies as we have been for the past three years. My husband and I recommend that you write another article that educates folks on insurance with the intent of possibly changing how home insurance companies do business in Florida. From a standpoint of being an insured Citizens policyholder for over 10 years, my questions are the following:

1. Why are the reserves not being transferred with policies when Citizens transfers a customer to a new insurance company? Citizens has taken my money in return for providing me insurance coverage.

If Citizens wants us to change insurance companies after over 10 years of being insured by them, then the government required reserves that I have paid for 10 years as a part of my paid premiums should go to the new company and not be retained by Citizens.

2. Citizens wants to reduce its risk, but has a $7.6 billion surplus? It appears that Citizens is trying to transfer all coastal properties out to other insurance companies. Is that fair to other insurance companies? Why are our premiums constantly increasing with such a large surplus?

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3. Why can't the Florida Legislature require insurance companies to report to us the breakdown of our premium by cost of doing business, reserves, and re-insurance so that we can know if the insurance company is really handling our money in the best way possible? Even though we are insured by Citizens, I don't feel comfortable in how Citizens is spending our premiums (i.e., luxury business travel).

Kathy & George Antis, Largo

Insured push back | Nov. 9

Market cornered on sinkhole homes

There is another angle: If you purchase a repaired sinkhole home you can, by law, only buy through Citizens. This places a very large number of homes that can only be insured by Citizens as they are resold.

Even if the sinkhole was repaired by Citizens, there will be fees and inspection costs that go to Citizens prior to the insurance being issued. Then after Citizens has collected the inspection fees they will sell the policy off to another insurance company. Most policies for homeowners will run in the $2,000 range. What these policies sell for I have no idea, but I suspect it's much less. Free market? I don't think so.

My information comes from AAA Insurance. They also tell me the paperwork to obtain this insurance runs well over 100 pages of photocopies. This gives Citizens an entire market of thousand of homes that must go through them to get insurance, even though they have no intention of actually insuring them.

Sylvia Weber, Spring Hill

How U.S. minimum wage stacks up globally | Nov. 9

What a shameful commentary

It is shamefully disgusting to read about the wealthiest nation in the world having the third lowest minimum wage in the world. It is painful to read these stats when the corporate CEOs of America are raking in multi-millions of dollars and so many new billionaires/millionaires are created each year. Hang your head low and show your shame America for giving so much to the wealthy and less than a living wage to the workers who made it. How does this happen?

Tom S. Brown, Pinellas Park

Not so smooth at Ideal Image Nov. 2

A satisfied Ideal Image customer

I just wanted you to know that I am a 100 percent satisfied Ideal Image customer. Two other companies in the area, one a "doc in the box" the other a local "spa" sold me laser hair removal service, and were completely incapable of delivering it. Ideal Image may have been more expensive, but well worth it as you get what you pay for.

I patronize the location on U.S. Highway 19. From the receptionist to the technicians and sales people, I receive the hassle-free uncomplicated service I deserve. Everyone is pleasant. You are warned that there could be side effects, and are constantly reminded to avoid sun exposure during your treatment. Your contract states you must complete your service in the time period given. It's called laser hair removal, not relaxation massage for a reason.

If you feel pressured by a salesperson at any company you have the right to walk away. If you don't have disposable income, this is not the place to be. Again, 100 percent satisfied, and I believe most are.

Sheri Martin, Oldsmar

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