A Win for Citizens Policyholders Occurred in Tampa Today
State Senator Mike Fasano attended a Citizens Property Insurance Corporation board meeting that was held in Tampa on April 26. Senator Fasano went to the hearing to make certain that the “little guys and gals” for whom he always speaks had a voice to advocate on their behalf. Going into the meeting he was aware that Citizens was going to entertain a proposal that would remove the existing 10% annual increase cap on Citizens policies for all new policies written after July 1, 2012.
“It was important for me to speak on behalf of the policyholders who can’t afford rate increases, especially those who may purchase a home and need to buy a new policy, or existing customers who, for whatever reason, may need to have a new policy as well,” Senator Fasano states. “The proposal they considered was an attempt to get around statute that has been in effect for a several years now.”
Chief Financial Officer Jeff Atwater sent a letter to the Citizens board in which he stated, in part:”…the board will consider the proposal to remove the 10 percent cap currently in place for any new business written by Citizens…the removal of the cap for new business is beyond the scope of legislative intent.”
Senator Fasano also expressed his concern the impact the proposed rate increase will have on the housing market. If the increased premiums are factored into a homeowner’s escrow payment of insurance and taxes, the amount they may have to pay per month may, in some cases, disqualify them from being able to purchase a home.
“This is the last thing that needs to be occurring in an economy that is struggling to improve,” Senator Fasano comments. “It is also a roadblock to homeownership that many people may not be able to overcome.”
The Citizens board backed off from the proposal to lift the cap and instead opted to study the issue further.
“This was a good win for policyholders,” Senator Fasano stated once the proposal was shelved. “It is important that policyholders and future homeowners are not prevented from buying or keeping their home due to runaway insurance premiums.”