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Klein Calls For Hearings On Massive Insurance Rate Hikes

Delray Beach, FL- State Senator Ron Klein (D-Boca Raton) today asked Senate President Tom Lee and Attorney General Charlie Crist for investigations and hearings into the recent massive rate hikes proposed by major insurance companies in Florida.

“Here in South Florida, we have been dealing with property insurance problems since Hurricane Andrew in 1992 and now, based on recent announcements from Allstate and Nationwide, homeowners in South Florida and the rest of the state can expect massive, and in some cases unwarranted, premium increases.”

Klein, a long-time consumer advocate for better insurance protections, has asked Senate President Tom Lee to call for hearings by the Senate Banking and Insurance Committee in an effort to promote transparency in a process that may affect every policy holder.

“Some insurance companies continue to run roughshod over the consumers in the State of Florida and it’s time to get some straight answers about these rate hikes,” said Klein. “It is my understanding that many insurance companies continue to earn unprecedented profits while consumers are paying higher and higher premiums. The public has a right to know if these rate hikes are justified and legitimate. Confidence has to be restored to the insurance rate filing process.”

Some companies may not be following the spirit of the law that was recently passed by the Florida Legislature. Klein has asked Attorney General Charlie Crist to investigate the companies that have already announced proposed increases, which in some cases will already be implemented before gaining approval from the Office of Insurance Regulation (OIR).

“I believe the decision of Allstate Floridian to divide its proposed 28% increase into two parts is an obvious effort to avoid the public hearing requirement of the new law for increases of 15% or more,” Klein continued. “Additionally, the use-and-file process allows Allstate, Nationwide and all other insurance companies to immediately impose massive rate increases in the hopes of gaining approval before they are justified by OIR. Laws should be in place to protect the consumer, not make it easier for insurance companies to raise rates without approval.”

Klein asked for prompt attention to his requests, as some homeowners will be slammed by the increases as early as next month.

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