Homeowners insurance rates in Florida may spike under new bill

Homeowners Insurance

Homeowners InsuranceProperty owners could find themselves paying a great deal more should SB1770 pass.

If a new Senate Bill (SB 1770) is able to pass the Florida Legislature, property owners purchasing homeowners insurance coverage through Citizens could be facing steep rates.

The complex bill made its way relatively smoothly through the Senate of the state.

Throughout that time, lawmakers have been hearing considerable figures regarding the costs that would be faced within the state if a large hurricane should strike. These figures included $100 billion in possible damages, over $9 billion in “hurricane taxes”, and destruction to the state’s economy as the disaster cuts into millions of family budgets.

According to many, those figures have typically been inflated, but they have justified homeowners insurance hikes.

The bill would primarily impact the future premiums that would be paid by home insurance customers, particularly those purchasing “new” policies through Citizens. Until this week, that impact of the bill was essentially ignored, until the bill took center stage.

As a result of the changes that would occur through SB 1770, some are predicting that homeowners insurance premiums for some property owners could skyrocket by over 60 percent. This would especially impact certain specific areas of the state, including Tampa Bay and South Florida, said Barry Gilway, the president of Citizens.

Gilway said that “We need rate adequacy in the state.” He cautioned that the rates would need to triple their current levels before they would become “actuarially sound”. This was the first public discussion of the actual homeowners insurance rate increase size that would be required should the bill – a 96-page tome – should pass. This, despite the fact that it has undergone five committee hearings as well as many hours of public testimony.

The Senate debate of the bill occurred on Thursday. The version for the House is comprised of several different bills and is still in the review process.

If this bill passes, homeowners insurance rates for a new Citizens policy could rise by as much as 65.6 percent in Broward County and 71.9 percent in Miami-Dade county, compared to the current levels. Other areas would experience lower increases to their rates.

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