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Fla.-Owned Insurer Adds 17.5K Policies in March

More Fla. homeowners facing rising costs or dropped coverage from their private insurance firm are turning to Citizens, the state-owned “insurer of last resort.”

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – As lawmakers consider changes in Florida’s property-insurance system, the state-backed Citizens Property Insurance Corp. added more than 17,500 policies in March, according to data posted on its website. The increase suggests an increased need in the market for affordable coverage.

Citizens, created as an insurer of last resort, had 569,868 policies as of March 31, up from 552,340 at the end of February. That increased number of Citizens policies is part of a larger debate as Florida lawmakers consider changes to bolster the property-insurance industry. The Senate passed a potentially far-reaching plan (SB 76) last week, while House committees have moved forward with a bill (HB 305) that is substantially different.

Private insurers have been seeking major rate increases and shedding policies because of financial troubles – and that has led to a surge in policies at Citizens. As of March 31, 2020, for example, Citizens had 446,327 policies – meaning that it grew by more than 123,000 policies over the past year.

Lawmakers have long worried about financial risks from Citizens if the state is hit by a major hurricane or multiple hurricanes. Citizens’ Board of Governors has pushed to raise the state-backed insurer’s rates, and regulators are deciding whether to approve a proposed 7.3% average rate hike.

Source: News Service of Florida