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Regulators Weigh Citizens Property Insurance Rate Hikes

Haley Nelson inspects the remnants of her family properties in the Panama City area after Michael made landfall as a Category 4 storm.
Haley Nelson inspects the remnants of her family properties in the Panama City area after Michael made landfall as a Category 4 storm.

Florida regulators will hold an online public hearing March 11 about a proposal by the state-backed Citizens Property Insurance Corp. to raise rates later this year.

State Insurance Consumer Advocate Tasha Carter announced the Office of Insurance Regulation hearing in a Twitter post Thursday, saying she is seeking feedback from customers about the rate proposal.

Alarmed by a steady increase in people turning to Citizens for coverage, the insurer’s Board of Governors on Jan. 26 approved a proposal that would lead to various rate changes, depending on factors such as types of policies.

For example, homeowners would see an average 6.1 percent increase, while policies for condominium units and mobile homes would see higher average increases, according to Citizens.

The state-backed insurer has long sought to move customers into the private market, but it has seen its number of policies increase amid financial problems in the industry.

Citizens had 554,537 policies as of Jan. 31, up from 443,228 a year earlier. Citizens board members pushed to increase rates as part of the effort to spur more people to get private coverage.

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