Thirteen Fla. Insurers Request 11 to 60 Percent Policy Rate Hikes

January 5, 2005

Thirteen Florida insurance companies have requested 11 to 60 percent premium rate increases from the Florida Office of Insurance Regulation (OIR). Regulators will be reviewing the requests this month and will either approve them or request revisions. New rate increases will be reflected in all new business on Feb. 1, while renewals will see the rate adjustment starting April 1.

Valerie Beynon, an OIR spokesperson said 12 requests to raise rates have been received from private insurance companies. “They have been trickling in since October,” she said. “We are seeing increase requests averaging anywhere from 5 percent to 24.8 percent in the aggregate.”

Companies requesting rate increases are: American Strategic Insurance Corp., Atlantic Mutual Insurance Co., Citizens Property Insurance Corp., Cooperativa De Seguros Multiples De Puerto Rico Inc., Cotton States Mutual Insurance Co., Cypress Property and Casualty Insurance Co., Florida Select Insurance Co., Metropolitan Insurance Co., Safeway Property Insurance Co., Southern Family Insurance Co., State Farm Florida Insurance Co., Teachers Insurance Co., and United Fire Group.

According to Benyon, Cotton States Mutual Insurance Company and Teachers Insurance Company each requested 24.8 percent increases. Cotton States was asked to lower their percentage and was approved at 20 percent. Teachers Insurance is still under review and has not yet been approved.

Citizens, Florida’s insurer of last resort has asked to raise its rates in some southeastern counties by as much as 60 percent with a statewide average increase of 19.7 percent. Wind insurance policyholders should see an 11.8 percent average increase.

“We have to keep our rates higher than the other insurance companies, so we had to file new rates due to some reports that Citizen’s would be competitive with the private market,” Justin Glover, a spokesman for Tallahassee-based Citizens said. “Any time the other private insurers raise rates, under Florida law we also have to file for a rate adjustment.”

Citizens has applied for rate increases for homeowners in high-risk areas and others who cannot find coverage in the open, private insurance market. The following counties have been singled out for increases: Indian River County, 40.4 percent; Martin County, 15.6 percent; St. Lucie County, 19.9 percent. The rates affect “peril” policyholders, with residential properties insured against wind, fire, liability and theft.

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