Florida Homeowners: The Check Is in the Mail

By Mike Vasilinda
February 13, 2007 11:48 p.m.

The question of how much Citizens Insurance customers will receive has phones ringing. Thousands of times a week someone is calling the state hotline on insurance.

Call volume is up by almost 20 percent since January’s legislative session. Many of the callers want to know when they will see a refund as a result of changes in the law.

Tim Mosley says most callers have been decent.

"Well, the temperament is real good," says call specialist Tim Mosley.

Thousands of Citizens customers who have already renewed their policies will see checks this week or next. Citizens’ spokesman Rocky Scott says more will go out in mid-March.

"Well, a high risk account should be about a 20 percent cut," explained Citizens Insurance spokesman Rocky Scott. "In the personal lines account, and that’s home insurance to you and me and anyone who doesn't live along the coast, probably about 12 percent."

If you haven’t already paid your Citizens renewable, there will be nothing in the mailbox for you right now, but when that notice does come, it won’t be any higher than it was last year. Governor Charlie Crist says he is happy the checks are in the mail, but he still has concerns.

"What I’m more concerned about in the long term is the opportunity to lower rates across the board."

In addition to the latest round of refund, policyholders are also dodging what would have been another 55 percent rate hike in April. The battle over insurance is apparently just the beginning.

The Florida Insurance Council has filed a legal challenge to an emergency rule adopted by the Cabinet that prevents private companies from canceling policies before the new insurance reform law takes effect.