Policyholders are worried about the way this new requirement will impact their rates.
The largest homeowners insurance company in Florida has added a new requirement to its coverage, which is to conduct random home inspections of its customers.
The state-run Citizens insurer has been taking steps to control the rates it charges its policyholders.
Citizens, like all homeowners insurance companies in the state, has been required to continually raise its rates as the market in Florida becomes an increasingly costly place to do business. While many insurers have left the state or have stopped selling new policy, as the insurer of last resort that is state run, Citizens is meant to be there for customers who have been unable to find reasonable coverage in the rest of the private market.
Now Citizens is ordering random home inspections of its customers. This action is taking many customers by surprise, but it is a requirement and they are not permitted to decline. Some policyholders have expressed concern that this new action will only send the rates they pay even higher.
Citizens provides homeowners insurance to a massive 1.4 million homes across the state of Florida.
In order to be able to remain solvent, the insurer is seeking to shed policies through a variety of methods.
According to a report by NBC2, in 2019, the insurer conducted an inspection of about 2200 homes that it covered. That said, by the close of this year, the insurer is aiming to complete the inspection of 300,000 covered properties.
Citizens spokesperson Michael Peltier confirmed that the inspections are legitimate. “They wanted us to go out and get a more accurate picture of the policies that we cover,” he said. “This is a really good chance for us to get a handle on the policies we have.” Peltier underscored that the inspections will occur without any cost to the property owners.
“These are getting confused with four point inspections or wind mitigation inspections that are paid for by the policy holder,” clarified Peltier.
That said, many homeowners insurance policyholders are worried that with another inspection, they could see their premiums rise.
“In the cases where we are seeing premium adjustments we’re seeing about 42% of those actually going down,” said Peltier.