State Farm Insurance Co., Florida’s second largest homeowner’s insurer (after Citizens Property Insurance Corporation) with about 467,000 policyholders and almost 8 percent market share is seeking approval for a 14.9 percent statewide average increase of premiums for the homeowner’s insurance policies the company issues. This despite the fact that no significant hurricanes have hit the state in six years (not since Wilma in 2005) and that, therefore, no claims for hurricane related windstorm damages have been paid…
State Farm is also seeking approval for a 49 percent increase on the rates for apartment and other renters and an average 27 percent increase for condo owners.
Why The Rate Increase?
According to a commentary on the palmbeachpost.com, the reason why State Farm is making this request is simply because they can…
Moreover, they seem to have purposefully chosen a 14.9 percent increase because under state law increases of 15 percent or more have to be afforded a public hearing by the Office of Insurance Regulation…A hearing at which ordinary citizens would be able to voice their opinions…
The Office of insurance Regulation did hold a hearing in Tallahassee on July 25, 2012, but only about the proposed 49 percent increase for renters. Only nine people attended the hearing…Of course, what are the odds of someone from, let’s say, Miami attending a hearing held about 480 miles away in Tallahassee? Wouldn’t it be more sensible to hold several hearings throughout the state, closer to at least the largest segments of the population and therefore, closer to the majority of those rental communities? Consequently, it is more than likely that these huge insurance rate hikes will go into effect on September 1st, 2012.
What Can be Done At This Point?
Florida homeowners can still demand these meetings from their state representatives. They can also demand that the legislature pressure the executive into rejecting those of State Farm’s increases not subject to hearings. Smart politicians know when to listen: they will not pay much attention to nine potential voters…But I would bet they would listen if we all put our demands to them in writing and/or clogged the telephone lines to their offices…
Florida policyholders can email their comments and requests to their state regulators at the Office of Insurance Regulation at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Tactic Already Paying Off
State regulators are already “grilling” State Farm with questions about their proposed insurance rate request. According to the sunsentinel.com, many of these questions have already been asked of State Farm. Yet the pressure has to be kept on both the Office of Insurance Regulation and our state representatives so that the insurance industry cannot unjustly profit from Florida homeowner’s insurance policyholders.
The Lawyers of Greenberg Stone and Urbano Can Help
Regardless of what kind of coverage you would like to see included in your homeowners insurance policy, you should have an attorney help you review your policy and advise you on what coverage you should have and for how much. With more than 67 years of combined experience, the Miami Dade County Homeowners Insurance Claims Law Offices of Greenberg Stone and Urbano have helped thousands of homeowners all over Florida review their policies, present their claims and get the compensation owed them by their insurance carrier.
Visit our website to learn more about our firm and contact us today for a free consultation.