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State Lawmakers Signal an Easing of Insurance Controls

LEGISLATURE: Compromise would let insurers raise rates by up to 10% a year

TALLAHASSEE – The effort by Sen. Mike Bennett, R-Bradenton, to allow insurance companies in Florida to set their own rates appears doomed just two weeks into the legislative session, done in by election-year politics and the threat of a veto by Gov. Charlie Crist.

But while Florida ratepayers may be spared the huge rate increases expected with deregulation’s approval, they are still likely to see their insurance costs go up.

A compromise now moving through the Legislature would allow private insurers to raise their rates up to 10 percent a year.

The rate increase is included in a comprehensive property insurance bill that cleared its first Senate committee on Wednesday. That bill also includes other changes, including a revision on how much money insurance companies must pay upfront to people whose homes are damaged.

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