Once again we see corporations bailed out with people’s money…According to the miamiherald.com, the board of directors of Citizens Property Insurance Corp. has approved a reform of its unpopular inspection program, together with a $350 million low-interest loan program for private insurers that agree to undertake some of the company’s 1.4 million policies.
The Re-Inspection Program
The decision was prompted by protests from property owners and articles in both the Miami Herald and the Tampa Bay Times after the company’s aggressive inspection program took away multiple discounts that benefitted homeowners and considerably raised their premiums. The newspaper articles described how hundreds of thousands of homeowners in Florida saw their premiums sky-rocket when Citizens, desperate to reduce its coverage portfolio (and hence, its exposure to losses in case of a catastrophe), used the re-inspection program as an excuse to eliminate the much needed discounts and raise premiums to a point that many could not afford, forcing them into the private insurance market.
Over a quarter of a million properties have been inspected this year and three out of four have seen the premiums increase soon thereafter. The average premium hike has been of about $800.00.
However, under the new re-inspection plan just approved by the board of directors last Friday, those homeowners who lost their discounts can now request a new inspection, free of charge, to dispute their premium increase. Similarly, those who lost a discount because the inspector could not get into their attics to verify the strength of the roof are now also entitled to a re-inspection.
Low Interest Loans to Insurers
In its desperation to shed policies, Citizens has now decided to give an “incentive” to private insurers that undertake some of its policies and keep them for 10 years: low interest (as low as 1.6%) loans. Paradoxically, Citizens is able to make these loans because the benevolent storm free weather of the last few years and the continued premium increases have allowed its coffers to balloon to an unprecedented $6.2 billion, part of which the company would now use for this purpose.
The beneficiaries of these 20 year loans would pay only interest during the first three years and the loans would be partially forgivable if hurricanes hit the state. This means that Citizens may not be able to recover the money if these insurers go bankrupt after a major hurricane hits. Several Florida lawmakers, including Sen. Mike Fasano, a Republican for New Port Richey, blasted the company for this idea, calling it “corporate welfare”.
We Can Help
You should always have an attorney help you review your policy and advise you on what coverage you should have and for how much. If you are about to renew your policy (with the same insurer or a new one), we can help you review it and make sure you are adequately covered and in a position to avoid costly expenses should disaster strike.
Moreover, please note that if your home has already sustained damages, our team of loss consultants, paralegals, and attorneys will assist you in every aspect of your claim. Our loss consultant will even go to your home to evaluate the damage you sustained at no cost or obligation to you. Contact us today for a free inspection by our loss consultant.
With more than 75 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.