Citizens tops 1.1 million policies, rate increase takes effect
Fort Myers Florida Weekly (FL)
As another sign of its explosive growth, the state-backed Citizens Property Insurance Corp. has topped 1.1 million policies. Citizens had 1,107,033 policies as of Nov. 3, up from 1,098,762 a week earlier and 1,090,508 two weeks earlier, according to the Citizens website.
Citizens, which was created as an insurer of last resort, has seen massive growth during the past two years as private insurers have dropped policies, and in some cases gone insolvent, amid financial losses. As a comparison, Citizens had 521,289 policies on Oct. 31, 2020, and 725,942 policies on Oct. 31, 2021.
Citizens rate increases took effect Nov. 1, as thousands of homeowners a week continue turning to the state-backed insurer for coverage.
The increases, which apply to what are known as "personal lines" policies, were approved by the Florida Office of Insurance Regulation in June. They include an average 6.4% increase for homeowners with "multi-peril" policies — by far the most common type of policy.
Customers with other types of policies will see average increases ranging from 8.4% to 11%. Citizens initially asked for larger rate increases, but the Office of Insurance Regulation scaled back the requests. For example, Citizens had requested a 10.7% increase for multi-peril policies. The increases come as Citizens, which was created as the state's insurer of last resort, experiences massive growth amid turmoil in the private insurance market.
The insurance regulation office also announced that estimated insured losses from Hurricane Ian neared $8.44 billion on Nov. 1.
The data also showed that 607,552 insurance claims had been reported, with 422,108 involving residential property. As a comparison, the office reported a week earlier that estimated insured losses were $7,595,678,739 and that 587,693 claims had been reported.
The Category 4 hurricane made landfall Sept. 28 in Lee and Charlotte counties before crossing the state. The largest number of claims, 218,465, had been filed in Lee County. Charlotte County had the second-largest number at 92,819. In addition to residential property, claims involve such things as commercial property and auto damage. ¦