Statement from Florida’s Insurance Consumer Advocate Robin Westcott
In response to the Final Order issued by Insurance Commissioner Kevin McCarty late yesterday on insurance rate increases requested by Citizens Property Insurance Corporation, Florida’s Insurance Consumer Advocate Robin Westcott offered the following statement:
“It is clear from Commissioner McCarty’s order that concerns raised by private citizens and our office on proposed sinkhole rates were considered. I applaud the Office of Insurance Regulation for taking a logical, consumer-friendly approach in approving these new rates, especially as it relates to sinkhole coverage. No one disputes that Citizens’ rates should reflect the risk that is taken so we minimize all consumers’ exposure to assessments. However, it is critical to balance affordability as well. This final order struck that important balance.
“I want to also personally thank and commend consumers from the Tampa Bay area who took the time and effort to speak at the rate hearing held last week. As the Insurance Consumer Advocate, I will always try to deliver the message on behalf of the citizens of our state. The level of public involvement has certainly helped me be more effective as an advocate.”
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. 9-20-11
Florida Insurance Commissioner Kevin McCarty has dramatically slashed the amount that the state-backed Citizens Property Insurance Corp. can charge home and business owners for sinkhole coverage.
McCarty ruled Monday night that Citizens was unable to provide evidence to support its intention to raise rates on an average of more than 440% on sinkhole coverage.
He instead set the maximum at 32.8% for new policies that take effect after Jan. 1, 2012.
Florida's largest insurer of homes and businesses with more than 1.4 million policyholders agreed last week that it would lower a proposed rate hike for sinkhole coverage.
The Legislature passed a broad property insurance bill earlier this year that they said would help drive down costs for private insurers and stabilize the state's fragile market.