No Big Storms, But Property Insurance Costs Rising

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Tallahassee, Fl. -- Another year and it looks like another price increase for Florida's homeowners insurance

"I mean generally if you look over the past 8-10 years we've seen rates increase overall in Florida," said insurance industry expert Bob Lotane.

According to the Insurance Information Institute, Florida homeowner's claims have increased by about 17 percent ever year. That adds up to more than double the number of claims filed in 2003, and many of these have been for non-catastrophic events.

Florida didn't have to worry about a major hurricane impacting claims for the seventh straight year, but Lotane says that a sinking local problem could be a factor.

"In more recent years we've had a lot of sinkhole claims, and fraudulent sinkhole claims, that even if they're proved to be not legitimate, it could cost an insurance company about 10,000 dollars," said Lotane.

Realtor Karen Blankenship says that the hikes can impact both owners and renters.

"Investors, it can impact them with the rentals that they have, they're not going to absorb the cost of the higher insurance, so they're going to take that cost and pass it on to the rentals," said Blankenship.

Citizens Insurance Company has more than 1.3 million policies and those customers don't have much of a choice in their premiums going up, unless they choose to go to a private company.

Associated Press Release

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (AP) -- The one thing a New Year always brings in Florida is higher property insurances rates and 2013 will be no different.

Although Florida escaped a major hurricane for a seventh straight year in 2012, property insurance costs continue to soar.

Data from the New York-based Insurance Information Institute shows homeowners' claims have increased an average of more than 17 percent annually over the past decade-- more than double the number filed in 2003. And virtually all of these in recent years have been claims on non-catastrophic events.

Additional litigation and an increase in the number of public adjusters also factor into the rising number of insurance claims by home and business owners. Rate requests have also received more favorable action from state regulators. When all added up, consumers pay more.

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