Florida Office of Insurance Regulation Appears to Rubber Stamp Virtually Any Rate Hike Requested by Property Insurance Companies
Despite the supposed 10% annual caps on rate increases that are supposed to be in place for Florida property insurance companies, company after company gets away with increasing their rates by bedding down with Governor Rick Scott and the heavily Republican State Legislature.
As reported on June 27, 2012 by regular insurance writer, Julie Patel of the Fort Lauderdale Sun Sentinel, “State Farm, Florida’s third largest home insurer, is requesting a 14.9 percent statewide average rate hike due to changes it wants to make on home insurance discounts and deductibles.” This translates to a statewide average increase of 14.2% for homeowners and 27.3% for condo owners. This came after five other enormous increases over a time period of less than three years when no major hurricanes had hit since 2004-2005.
Public Insurance Adjuster, Steven Venook, of Advocate Claims Public Adjusters remarked, “This situation makes people wish that their jobs came with automatic cost of living increases that are enjoyed by the insurance companies in Florida where, no matter what they do, the governor and the insurance regulators just turn a blind eye and allow these increasingly prohibitive increases.”
As Patel reported in the Sentinel, “the proposed increase comes after State Farm received rate increases the past 2.5 years of 28 percent, 14 percent, 7 percent, 19 percent and 2 percent, according to the insurer’s proposal to regulators.
The proposed 14.2 percent increase for homeowners includes a much higher average rate hike for those who rent their homes instead of live in them: 58 percent. The Office of Insurance Regulation will hold a rate hearing on that portion of the rate request on July 25 but it will not hold hearings on the other proposed rate hikes.”
What’s more, policyholders can experience increases that vary greatly from the statewide average. After regulators approved a 19% rate hike for State Farm in 2011, some policyholders in Florida reported triple-digit increases in their rates! This is outrageous.
Do you understand your insurance coverage? You owe it to yourself to learn all you can.