As we all know, from his first day in office, Governor RIck Scott has embarked on a policy to allow for limitless increases in property insurance rates, allegedly to help the State’s sponsored property insurance company, Citizens Property Insurance Corp., to shed some of the 1.5 million policies it now holds and, at the same time, to motivate private insurers to start offering services here and spur competition, an age-old capitalist formula that should (at least theoretically) help lower rates in the future.
Too Many Hikes, Too Fast
However, homeowners’ insurance rates are being increased so fast and so often that they are starting to cut very dramatically into people’s standards of living. In the past we have posted about how many elderly citizens who outright own their properties are being forced to forego homeowner’s insurance altogether and “wing on a prayer” any future storms….
Yet, the elderly are not the only affected by these increasing rates. Take, for example, the residents at Village Green Condominium in Sarasota. The board members have been working very hard to try and keep costs down for the residents by repainting the shuffleboard courts themselves to organizing community landscaping days. However, according to heraltribune.com, there is nothing they can do to control property insurance rates and prevent them from skyrocketing.
The rate for the association’s 24 units is set to triple (an increment of $20,000.00) next year and all they have been able to do is plead with local lawmakers asking them to address Florida’s homeowners’ insurance problems in the legislative session that starts in March, 2013. Although the board received a sympathetic message from the lawmakers at their pre-legislative session meeting, solving the problem will not be easy.
This is not the first insurance rate hike that Florida homeowners have seen recently. In fact, many Florida insurers raised their rates in 2011 and so far the Office of Insurance Regulation has received 73 applications to further raise the price of typical homeowner’s policies throughout the State. For example, one Allstate affiliate proposed a 32.4 percent rate increase this year.
Thankfully, at least one influential politician, Senator Nancy Detert, R-Venice, will provide a strong voice against these rate increases during the insurance debates in 2013. Detert has qualified as “obscene” the fact that people are paying more home insurance than taxes. At least taxes create jobs…
Similarly, Detert has largely criticized the Governor’s plan on how to shrink Citizens Property Insurance Corp. Although Senator Detert agrees that the company must be made smaller, she disagreed with a bill last year that would have allowed surplus lines insurers to take policies out of Citizens because surplus companies are largely unregulated in Florida and therefore can raise rates without state approval. The senator says that a better plan would be to reexamine how Citizens does business in the riskiest coastal areas where people should expect to pay more just because they’ve chosen to live in a high risk area.
The Lawyers of Greenberg Stone and Urbano 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, even if you are not sure if those are “a covered loss,” or if you don’t think the loss will exceed your deductible, our team of loss consultants, paralegals and attorneys will assist you in determining if you have coverage and if so, 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 100 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.