Citizens insurance faces massive public outcry at Miami workshop

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Florida Insurance

Insurer intends to increase rates by 7.5 percent in 2013.

The Citizens Insurance board received an angry scolding from homeowners and lawmakers alike during a Miami workshop in which it announced its intentions to increase its rates by 7.5 percent, on average, next year.

The proposed rates increase would affect premiums across the state.

Though almost all homeowners with Citizens Insurance coverage would find themselves with higher premiums, some areas would be harder hit than others. South Florida, for example, will have higher increases than other regions if the proposed changes are implemented. This would mean a total estimated increase of approximately $173 million for residents of the state.

Citizens Insurance has already hit homeowners in Florida with a stream of increases this year.

Elected officials and the residents of South Florida that they represent all lashed out at the Citizens Insurance board for making it even more difficult for struggling homeowners to be able to scrape by.

According to Rep. Carlos Lopez-Cantera (R-Miami), “The decisions you make affect people that you may not think about”. Lopez-Cantera was referring to lower income residents of Miami who are now often faced with the choice between their housing costs and their ability to afford food. He went on to say that “They don’t get the opportunity to come [meet] in a nice hotel board room, and have food delivered to them.”

The public workshop for the board members was held at the Brickell location of the JW Marriott. It was offered in the hopes of providing policyholders and lawmakers with greater transparency to the way that the rate filing process occurs every year.

There were approximately 50 people in attendance of the Citizens Insurance workshop.

The rate plan will be finalized by the insurer next week, including the increases of up to 11.4 percent in some of the heaviest hit parts of Southern Florida. Though the Legislature has fixed a 10 percent cap over the increases that Citizens Insurance is allowed to make every year, there is some maneuvering space in terms of surcharges that it applies to some of its homeowners policies.

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