The campaign to force hundreds of thousands of homeowners out of Citizens Property Insurance Corp. kicked into high gear Tuesday, as insurance regulators approved a 10.8 percent rate increase and private insurers began sending “takeout” proposals to 210,000 property owners.
The average homeowner covered by Citizens will have to pay an additional $250 when their policy renews next year, and some will have to pay hundreds of dollars more under the rate increases approved by the Florida Office of Insurance Regulation.
Sinkhole rates will increase 25 percent in Pasco and Hernando counties and 50 percent in Hillsborough, costing homeowners between $130 and $375 on average. For condos and rental homes, sinkhole rates will go up 44.8 percent.
The rate hikes — which kick in next year — immediately drew a backlash from critics of Citizens’ aggressive downsizing strategy.
“This is the mentality of Tallahassee — raise rates as high as you can, force people out,” said Sen. Mike Fasano, R-New Port Richey, who has criticized Citizens’ board for unilaterally overhauling the state’s largest insurer. ”Citizens should not be granted any rate increase because they have already given themselves rate increases through the back door.”