Citizens Property Insurance costs to rise for Floridians

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. - There are more than 7,500 homes worth between one and two million dollars currently insured by Citizens Property Insurance. The next time those policies renew, homeowners are likely to see their coverage capped at a million dollars.

"These coverage reductions will reduce our total exposure," said Carlos Lacasa, a chairman for Citizens Insurance.

Less coverage for higher premiums was just one of the proposals Citizens made as Governor Rick Scott looks for ways to lower the state's risk.

"If their claim can't get paid because Citizen's doesn't have the money, that's not insurance," said Gov. Scott.

Citizens also wants to limit high-rise condo coverage, now at ten million, to as low as one million.

"The number of Citizen's policies along the coast really hasn't increased in the last decade. All the increase has been inland," said Lacasa.

One suspected reason for the dramatic growth is agent commissions. Lacasa believes it is more profitable for some agents to place customers in Citizens than a private insurer.

"I think that we could lose policy count if we can change commission rates, but I gotta hear from them first, listen to their case," he said.

None of the changes outlined Tuesday require legislative approval. Reduced coverage for million dollar homes and condos is expected to be in place before Christmas.

Bigger steps may be presented during the legislative session in January, but passing higher rates could be a tough sell in an election year. The governor is hoping that's not true.

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