Florida Regulators Approve Rate Increase for Citizens Policyholders

By | September 19, 2016

The Florida Office of Insurance Regulation approved a 6.4 percent overall rate increase for 2017 for Citizens Property Insurance Corp. homeowners’ multiperil policyholders across the state. According to Citizens, the increase is necessary to address what it calls a disturbing increase in non-weather water loss claims and litigation.

State insurance regulators made adjustments to Citizens 2017 rate request following a public hearing in August, making minor reductions to Citizens loss trends for homeowners multiperil rates while accepting Citizens’ proposal regarding increases in rates for wind-only coverage.

The effective date for both new and renewal rates within the Personal Lines Account (PLA) and Coastal Account (CA) is February 1, 2017. Rate filing decisions for the commercial residential and commercial non-residential accounts are still pending.

The chart below provides the overall estimated statewide average rate changes established by OIR for each line of business individually:

Account Original Rate Requested Estimated Rate Established*
Homeowners Multi-Peril (PLA) 6.9% increase 6.4% increase
Homeowners Wind Only (CA)
8.2% increase 8.2% increase
Property/Personal (Dwelling Fire) (PLA)
5.3% increase 5.3% increase
Property/Personal (Dwelling Fire) Wind Only (CA) 9.3% increase 9.3% increase
Mobile Homeowners Multi-Peril (PLA)
5.7% increase 5.7% increase
Mobile Homeowners Wind Only (CA)
10.3% increase 10.3% increase
Mobile Homeowners (Dwelling Fire) Wind Only (CA)
10.5% increase 10.5% increase
Mobile Homeowners (Dwelling Fire) (PLA)
3.2% increase 3.2% increase

In a statement from Citizens, President, CEO and Executive Director Barry Gilway said the 2017 rates reflect the growing challenge of rising water loss claims and the “disturbing increased costs associated with assignment of benefits.”

“Unless the legislature takes action, our policyholders can expect these increases for years to come,” he said.

The statewide average wind-only rate for homeowners will increase by 8.2 percent in 2017. Mobile home owners will see an average 5.7 percent increase in multiperil rates while wind-only mobile home coverage will increase by 10.3 percent.

OIR also requested a review by the Florida Commission on Hurricane Loss Projection Methodology on how wind rating models and stricter building standards impact rates in Monroe County. The move was made in response to testimony from multiple Monroe stakeholders at the Citizens’ rate hearing that expressed concern over the rate increases.

OIR said the review is in addition to a separate initiative underway to evaluate building code standards in Monroe County and their effect on rates. OIR said it will require an additional rate filing by Citizens for its policyholders in Monroe County if the results of either or both of these efforts support such a filing.

The company’s 2017 proposed rates, submitted to OIR back in June, called for an overall statewide increase of 6.9 percent. Citizens said its 2017 rate request would have been higher had OIR not approved a set of Citizens policy contract changes regarding emergency services and notification requirements before permanent repairs can begin. The changes took effect on all new and existing policies on July 1. Many private insurance companies say they are also experiencing a rise in water claims with AOB and have filed similar requests with OIR.

According to the Miami Herald, other Florida insurers have also received approval for rate increases for 2017: Sawgrass Mutual rates will rise 9.8 percent increase, Ark Royal (5.1 percent), Federated National (5.5 percent), Prepared (8.7 percent), Florida Family (4.8 percent) and Olympus (7 percent). The Miami Herald said rate requests were still pending Sept. 14 for Tower Hill Signature (10.7 percent), Universal Insurance Co. (4.6 percent), Anchor (14.9 percent) and Cypress (7.4 percent), among others.

Heritage Property & Casualty Insurance Co., one of the biggest take-out companies of Citizens, withdrew its request for an overall statewide rate increase of 14.9 percent in July after regulators made it clear the company’s filing would not be approved. The company blamed assignment of benefits water loss claims for needing to raise rates in Miami-Dade counties by as much as 22.2 percent; it requested a 25 percent increase in Martin County. The Miami Herald reported Sept. 14 the company has submitted a new filing seeking an average rate increase of 9.9 percent statewide for homes and condos transferred from Citizens.

Citizens said that despite its overall rate increase, more than 100,000 Citizens policyholders may see rate reductions under the 2017 proposal as Citizens continues to adjust rates based upon recognized actuarial standards that require rates be based largely on local risk factors.

Following a reduction of nearly 1 million policyholders since late 2012, Citizens remains one of Florida’s largest property insurers, with 492,775 personal and commercial policies in force as of Sept. 9, 2016.

About Amy O'Connor

O'Connor is the Southeast editor for Insurance Journal and associate editor of MyNewMarkets.com. More from Amy O'Connor

Was this article valuable?

Here are more articles you may enjoy.