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Homeowner policy increases exceeding 50% to be considered

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(The Center Square) – Increases greater than 50% on homeowner policies by two insurance companies will be considered in hearings by the Florida Office of Insurance Regulation later this month.

The requested rate hikes come as state legislative leaders grapple with proposed solutions to rising insurance rates in the state.

Castle Key has asked for approval to increase its average rate for its Homeowners Multi-Peril Condominium insurance by 53.5%, according to state documents. Amica is asking to increase its statewide average premium for dwelling fire insurance by 54.1%.

The public hearing for Amica will be Tuesday at 10 a.m. and for Castle Key on Wednesday at 2 pm.

“OIR is hosting these rate hearings with the purpose of soliciting input from the public and to receive testimony from the companies regarding their filings,” the agency’s communications director Samantha Bequer told The Center Square. “Our goal is to provide as many avenues as possible for the public to comment on these filings to ensure public interests are heard as OIR reviews these filings. OIR will not make a final decision on the filings until after the public comment period closes.”

Under Florida law, insurance rates “must be adequate to maintain insurer solvency and pay claims,” she added.

OIR is required to hold public hearings on any requests above 15%, Bequer said.

State Rep. Spencer Roach, R-Lee this year introduced legislation that would open up the state-backed, nonprofit insurance company, Citizens, to all Florida homeowners but only for hurricane-related wind coverage. Citizens coverage is currently only available to homeowners who can’t find insurance in the private sector.

Although Roach does not believe the bill will pass the Legislature this year, it has sparked discussion about the state’s rising insurance rates, he told The Center Square.

Roach was not surprised at the rate increase requests by Amica and Castle Key.

“The average Florida homeowner has seen a 103% increase in their property insurance premiums over the last three years,” Roach said. “I don’t see any relief on the horizon. I think the premiums are going to continue go up. I think that what we are doing right now is simply not sustainable.”