Florida Keys News
Thursday, August 28, 2014
County faces wind rate increases

Seven out of 10 Florida residents covered by Citizen Property Insurance Corp. will see property insurance rate decreases, according to the company's recommendations.

However, those people don't live in Monroe County, according to a Citizen rate proposal that went before the state Insurance Office of Regulation board on Wednesday. Monroe County property owners are once again facing insurance rate increases.

Single family homeowners will see an 8.1 percent increase in their windstorm rates, according to Citizen's proposal. By comparison, Miami-Dade County property owners are facing a 0.5 percent increase and Broward County owners are looking at a 5.7 percent increase, according to Citizen, the insurer of last resort in Florida.

Monroe County condominium owners will see a 7.6 percent increase, according to Citizen's proposal. By comparison, Miami-Dade County condo owners are facing a 5.7 increase and Broward County owners are looking at a 7-percent increase, according to Citizen's proposal.

"It's not all a bowl of cherries," Citizen's rate expert John Rollins told the Office of Insurance Regulation on Wednesday.

Rollins' comments came after Citizen touted how the company lowered the rates for roughly 70 percent of the property owners it covers in Florida.

Members of the insurance watchdog group FIRM (Fair Insurance Rates in Monroe) did not attend Wednesday's hearing in Tallahassee because of budget limitations, but they did send a letter to the Office of Insurance Regulation outlining their concerns, FIRM board member and Monroe County Commissioner Heather Carruthers said.

FIRM raised concerns about Citizen not accurately accounting for insurance mitigation credits and issues dealing with terrain or where people live in the Keys, Carruthers said.

The Office of Insurance Regulation is slated to make its ruling on the rates by Sept. 4.

"We have not made a recommendation," state Insurance Commissioner Kevin McCarty said. "This is only a fact finding hearing."

tohara@keysnews.com

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