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Thursday, December 07 2017
The Florida Office of Insurance Regulation (OIR) has approved statewide rate increases on 2018 personal and commercial property insurance rates for Citizens Property Insurance Corp.
OIR approved a statewide increase of 6.6 percent for homeowners multi-peril policies, but held rates steady for Monroe County policyholders until Citizens completes analyses and review of Hurricane Irma, which devastated the Florida Keys in September. Citizens’ 2018 request called for homeowners wind-only rates in the Keys to climb by 3.9 percent.
Chris Gardner, chairman of Citizens Board of Governors, said OIR’s rate order “balances the needs of policyholders facing challenges from Irma with its responsibility to maintain a healthy property insurance market.”
Under the approved rates, homeowners along the coast would see wind-only rates climb by an average of 0.9 percent. Rates for condominium unit owners would rise by a statewide average of 4.6 percent.
The effective date for both new and renewal rates is no earlier than May 1, 2018.
Still, despite statewide increases, thousands of Citizens customers will see rate reductions.
OIR said the rate decision was as a result of its review of Citizens filings and the 200 comments and testimony received from policyholders and other interested parties, both by email and during a public rate hearing held on August 23, 2017, in Miami.
State insurance regulators postponed the rate filing review process, usually reached in September, on Citizens 2018 rate request to focus attention on response efforts following Hurricane Irma, a Category 4 hurricane that made landfall in the Keys on September 10, 2017.
OIR issued an emergency order to assist consumers recovering from this storm. That order expired on Dec. 3, 2017.
Industry-wide as of December 4, Hurricane Irma had resulted in more than 850,000 claims with insured losses of nearly $6.3 billion. Citizens said it expects to receive about 70,000 claims, including more than 9,000 from Monroe County. Statewide Citizens losses are expected to exceed $1.2 billion.
OIR’s new order calls on Citizens to review rating territories throughout Monroe County and analyze wind mitigation credits while working with local officials to review building codes for possible revision.
“The residents of the Florida Keys have withstood challenges and will continue to do so as they rebuild in the wake of Hurricane Irma,” said Barry Gilway, Citizens president, CEO and executive director. “We look forward to working with all stakeholders going forward to address issues discovered as a result of the storm.”