TALLAHASSEE, Fla. - Every car, boat, and homeowner in Florida is still paying for the hurricanes of 2004-2005 and will be for at least the next five years. The cost comes in the form of an assessment on your policy.
This $2,700 dollar homeowners policy has an additional $76 dollars on it to cover the state’s losses from the 2004-2005 storm season.
On Thursday, Governor Rick Scott and the State Cabinet will be told the state-run insurer of last resort, Citizens, is in better shape than it’s ever been. The company can weather $17 billion in losses, but a big storm hitting Palm Beach could cost the company up to $56 Billion. In St. Petersburg, the Citizens exposure is $39 billion.
“You hear horror stories of, instead of the three percent assessment that we’re paying right now from '04 and '05, to 20-30% a year for 20 to 30 years,” Sam Miller with the Florida Insurance Council said.
This homeowner got socked with a 34% rate increase by a private insurance company this year. While their neighbor, who’s with Citizens, will pay less than 10% more.
State lawmakers balked this year at raising Citizens rates more than the 10% already allowed by law.
Private insurers say part of the problem is that because Citizens rates were frozen for two years, the last resort company is actually cheaper than private insurers.
“Citizens is probably writing business that private insurers would write if they could compete with Citizens,” Miller said.
And because Citizens is growing by 20% a year, the risk of increased assessments to everyone in Florida are growing higher each year.
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