Citizens Approves Rate Changes for Florida Insureds

June 25, 2015

Citizens Property Insurance Corporation’s Board of Governors has approved a 2016 rate package that lowers rates for nearly half of Citizens’ personal lines policyholders while responding to increased water loss claims and continued inadequate rates for its remaining policyholders along the coast, according to a statement by the insurer.

While most inland policyholders will see rate reductions under the proposal to be submitted in July to the Office of Insurance Regulation, which must approve any rate changes, coastal homeowners will see average multiperil increases of 8.6 percent. Mobile homeowners and condominium owners will see rates rise by up to 10.2 percent.

Personal lines policyholders clustered in Palm Beach, Broward, Miami-Dade and Monroe counties will see the bulk of higher rates under the Legislative glide path established to bring those rates in line with the private market, if the rate package is approved.

Inland homeowners will see an average 1 percent drop in multiperil rates while inland mobile home owners will see rates reduced by 7.4 percent. By unanimous vote, the board approved an overall rate increase of 3.2 percent for personal lines policyholders, with most of the increases targeting property owners along the coast and in South Florida, where the company said rates continue to be inadequate.

“Every year, Citizens’ actuaries calculate rates based on the same methodology used by insurance companies all over the world, which compares potential risk to the ability to pay claims,” said Chris Gardner, chairman of Citizens Board of Governors. “We are focused on maintaining a transparent process that both the public and the Office of Insurance Regulation can appreciate.”

The overall increase is being fueled by a continued spike in water loss claims in southeast Florida and the fact that most coastal policies with nearly adequate rates have found coverage with private market insurance companies.

Since January 2014, nearly 550,000 policies have been transferred from Citizens to private companies. From a 2012 peak of nearly 1.5 million policyholders, Citizens continues to protect 573,000 personal lines customers as the state’s insurer of last resort. Of those, 255,000 are expected to see lower rates.

Affordable reinsurance and depopulation efforts over the past several years have allowed Citizens to boost its claims paying ability, the company said. For the first time since its creation, Citizens can now handle a 1-in-100 year storm along the coast without having to levy assessments on Florida policyholders.

Citizens is required by law to recommend rates that are actuarially sound while complying with a legislative glide path that caps rate increases at 10 percent, excluding coverage changes and surcharges.

According to the company, despite there not having been a hurricane in the state in 9 years, rates must be based on expected future losses, not past losses, both by law and according to actuarial principles.

“The lack of major storms in Florida since 2005 has helped Citizens to build reserves and lower its cost of capital, but has not decreased the risk of future hurricanes. Predicted non-catastrophic loss experience is a factor as well. Some policyholders still are paying rates that do not fully reflect the expected future risk, and Citizens must work toward sound rates using the glide path,” Citizens’ said in it’s 2016 rate information package.

Source: Citizens Property Insurance Corp.

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