The state-run company -- which serves as the "insurer of last resort" for Floridians who cannot find insurance through any other provider -- blamed the increases on rising water loss claims not related to storms.
House and condo owners in all but a few sections of
For months, Citizens has been warning that it will have to request rate increases for the foreseeable future, regardless of whether a hurricane hits, unless new laws are created to prevent contractors from coercing policyholders into signing over benefits of their policies before repairing damage from broken pipes, failed water heaters and other in-home emergencies.
Contractors use the "assignment of benefits" to submit inflated repair bills to insurers, then file suit if the insurer fails to pay the full claim, Citizens contends. Contractors and attorneys have countered that insurers use the "assignment of benefits" controversy as an excuse to save money by denying claims.
Citizens President and CEO
The problem originated in
In the order released Friday, the state
All other rate increases requested by Citizens, including an average 8.2 percent increase for wind-only coverage for coastal residents and 5.7 percent increase for multi-peril coverage of mobile homes, were approved.
Citizens is only a third as large as it was in 2012, thanks to the state's effort to shrink the company by encouraging private companies to "take out" Citizens policies. But Citizens remains the tricounty region's largest insurer with 231,633 personal residential policies at the end of March.
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