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South Florida lawmakers slam Citizens board for trying to push up insurance rates

The board of Citizens Property Insurance Corp. received a tongue-lashing from lawmakers and homeowners during a Monday workshop in Miami after unveiling a plan to raise rates by an average of 7.5 percent next year.

The proposed statewide rate increase — which is higher in places like South Florida — translates to about $173 million in higher costs for Florida homeowners, who have already sustained a barrage of cost increases and coverage reductions this year.

South Floridians and their elected officials bashed Citizens’ board for considering raising costs further for struggling homeowners.

“The decisions you make affect people that you may not think about,” said Rep. Carlos Lopez-Cantera, R-Miami, referring to low-income Miamians who have to choose between housing costs and food. “They don’t get the opportunity to come [meet] in a nice hotel board room, and have food delivered to them.”

Citizens’ board held the public workshop at the JW Marriott in Brickell, with the aim of adding more transparency to its annual rate filing process. About 50 people attended. Next week, Citizens will finalize its rate plan, which includes increases of up to 11.4 percent in parts of South Florida.

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