Citizens Property Insurance Corp. is taking the steps necessary to raise homeowner’s insurance rate by up to 11.3 percent in parts of South Florida, the Sun-Sentinel reported.
Wilma in 2005, was the last hurricane to strike South Florida. Still, five years later, property insurers are seeking double-digit rate increases. The availability of Citizen’s Property Insurance is particularly critical for coastal homeowners. The state-run insurer is the insurance company of last resort for homeowners in high-risk areas who otherwise may not be able to get insurance.
On that note, there is some good news. Citizens is proposing a decrease in the average rates in Miami Beach and along the coast in Broward and Palm Beach counties.
Statewide, Citizens proposed an average increase of 9.4 percent for policies that cover homes, condominiums, renters, mobile homes and vacation or rental property. Condominium buildings would see an average increase of 12 percent in parts of Broward, Palm Beach and Miami-Dade counties.
Meanwhile, the company reports that rates in parts of Broward, Palm Beach, Miami-Dade and Orange counties should be as much as 120 percent higher — or more than twice the current rate. However, a 2009 state law limits annual increases to 10 percent.
Our Miami insurance claims attorneys question the need to increase rates more than 10 percent, never mind the assertion that rates should be twice as high as current rates. Citizens has had few claims in the absence of hurricanes and, in most cases, the properties it insures are worth just a fraction of their value several years ago, thanks to South Florida’s plummeting real estate values.
Since the company is backed by the state, we have little question that the state will approve the rate increase. And we will stand ready to ensure that Citizens’ customers, and the customers of other Florida insurers, are treated fairly and paid in a timely manner in the event the area is hit by another storm this year.
After years of skyrocketing home insurance rates in South Florida, it’s an obligation we intend to see that these companies fulfill on behalf of our clients.
If you are facing a dispute over an insurance claim in Florida, contact Alvarez & Barbara, LLP toll free at 866-518-2913 for a free and confidential consultation to discuss your rights.