Posted on 08 Jan 2009
A state task force charged with recommending ways to shrink Citizens Property Insurance came up with a partial slate of recommendations Tuesday after eight hours of discussion. Included among the recommendations is not to extend Citizens' current rate freeze, and to gradually increase rates, but no more than 25 percent for any policyholder as the insurer begins to raise rates next year.
The task force recommended that Citizens raise its rates a maximum of 10 percent average statewide and no more than 15 percent in certain regions of the state. However, it's possible that homeowners in coastal areas would likely see bigger increases, hence the recommendation for a 25 percent overall cap.
To ensure that Citizens returns to its original mission of being the insurer of last resort, the panel indicated that it would like to see both agents and homeowners certify that they were unable to find coverage in the private market that was no more than 15 percent above Citizens rates.
The 11-member task force also recommended barring Citizens from insuring new waterfront construction and to expand the Florida Market Assistance Program, which helps homeowners find private insurance.
The panel also recommended the repeal of a state law that prohibits agents from telling their clients about the Florida Insurance Guaranty Association, which will pay claims up to $500,000 for the policyholders of failed insurers.
The task force will meet again Jan. 22 in Jacksonville to wrap up its work. It must present its report to the Legislature by Jan. 31.