Increases approved by the state's
"My words are harsh but I meant them," state Sen.
Once the excuse was hurricanes, then sinkholes, now assertions that non-storm claims such as water damage from broken pipes have spun out of control, she said.
The increase "is a slap in the face of consumers and legislators," Flores said in a statement after regulators announced approved rates late Friday. "Not only are law-abiding policyholders being punished for those abusing the system, they are being forced to comply with an increase that is not even across the board throughout the state."
She called upon the
Regulators said they conducted an "extensive" review.
"We are sensitive to the impact of these increased costs on consumers and will continue to work with the
Citizens defended the increase in a statement.
"The 2017 rates reflect the growing challenge of rising water-loss claims and the disturbing increased costs associated with assignment of benefits," Citizens president
Regulators approved the request with a few tweaks. Citizens had asked for a 6.9 percent statewide increase for "multi-peril" home policies -- covering fire and other risks, not just wind -- and the
Regulators said in an order they "utilized slightly lower water loss trends" adjusted for the company's shrinking size, now less than 493,000 customers. About one in 10 Citizens customers is in
Company officials argued inflated water-damage claims in
But as insurers have joined in a general hue and cry against
The state's largest insurer,
Regulators questioned what a Universal consultant argued was a special need to raise rates in
Heritage officials did not respond to requests for comment Monday.
That is more than 50 times what the CEO gets paid at larger, state-run Citizens, where Heritage got most of its customers in state-assisted transfers on its way to becoming one of the state's five largest property carriers.
"People are living paycheck to paycheck and this guy is making
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