Take a Hike

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Paul Parker has lived on Alligator Point for 15 years. He also owns some beach rentals here, several of which were damaged when Hurricane Dennis clobbered this coastal community. He says he’s not going to be happy about writing an even bigger check to Citizens Insurance when rates go up again in February.

Citizens’ rates will jump an average of 16.2 percent for coastal properties and 15.4 percent for inland properties. It’s the third rate hike in just over a year.

Citizens spokesman Justin Glover says the state-run insurer has no choice in the matter.

"Under Florida law we have to charge at least as high as what the highest insurance company in Florida is charging."

Citizens is proposing another average rate increase of nearly 50 percent next year, which will have to go through a lengthy review and public hearing. Still, Parker says, it’s a price he’s willing to pay for the gorgeous view, at least for now.

Citizens insures 800,000 properties in Florida. Several lawmakers are calling for a complete reorganization of Citizens Insurance, with news of the ballooning deficit, plus criminal and ethics investigations involving several top executives.