Consumers in South Florida are offered policies from private insurers, without the rates.
Thousands of residents of South Florida that have their homeowners insurance coverage through Citizens have received a letter stating that unless they opt out, their policies would be taken over in November by a private insurer.
Though these customers do see potential in the switch, the situation is making it difficult to make an informed decision.
Those with Citizens Insurance – the state backed insurer of last resort in Florida – have heard that the company intends to implement an average rate hike, next year, of 10.8 percent. They have already received their approval for this increase by state authorities. This is making the switch to the private insurers possibly very appealing, as it may provide the opportunity to dodge the increase – or at least experience a smaller one.
However, consumers are unable to obtain rate information about the homeowners insurance switch.
As they started searching online and calling the homeowners insurance companies to find out what the rates would be, in order to inform themselves and make the most cost-effective decision, they have discovered that this information is not available. The private insurers are not releasing information about the cost of the policies that will be renewed for next year.
Upon speaking with representatives from the private homeowners insurance companies that are taking over the policies for those who switch, customers are informed that the current policies – and their associated rates – would continue in the same way that they always have until the time of renewal. A renewal offer would be mailed a couple of months ahead of the expiration date, but the premium on that offer is not being revealed to consumers.
What is frustrating customers even more is that the representatives are also not revealing the current rates for a comparable policy that was already being sold by that company the ones currently held by Citizens customers. The representatives also don’t seem to be aware of whether or not a rate increase has been proposed by their companies for next year.
This is leaving a sour taste in the mouths of many homeowners insurance customers, as it leaves them wanting to switch, but at the same time they feel that it may be too risky, as they have no idea what the associated costs will be.