Citizens insurance seeks rate increase after adding 100K policies over last year

Insurer of last resort predicts it will have about 700K policies by year’s end

Citizens CEO & President Barry Gilway (iStock)
Citizens CEO & President Barry Gilway (iStock)

Florida’s state-backed insurer, Citizens Property Insurance Corp., is seeking a rate increase as it grapples with more than 100,000 new customers gained over the past year.

Barry Gilway, Citizens’ president and CEO, said an increasing number of private insurers are not writing new policies or are restricting the types of properties they will cover, according to the Miami Herald. He told state regulators earlier this week that, “The reality is the marketplace in Florida is shutting down.”

Citizens, often referred to as the insurer of last resort, has picked up 106,013 policies over the last year. And Gilway expects Citizens will reach 700,000 policies by the end of the year. Home sales in coastal communities have surged throughout the pandemic.

Citizens is seeking a 7.3 percent rate increase. For most homeowners with Citizens policies, the average increase would be 6.1 percent, according to the Miami Herald.

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Gilway told regulators that the insurance company is trying to avoid imposing surcharges on all insurance policyholders in Florida if a hurricane were to cause significant damage.

The state’s Office of Insurance Regulation is accepting comments from the public regarding the rate hike until March 26, and if it’s approved it could take effect in August. A state official asked if the increases could be delayed to next year due to the pandemic.

[Miami Herald] – Katherine Kallergis