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Friday, May 25, 2018
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Tampa hearing Tuesday on Citizens insurance rate hike

TALLAHASSEE — State insurance regulators will hold a public hearing in Tampa on Tuesday about proposed rate increases by Citizens Property Insurance Corp.

The hearing will be 4 p.m. to 8 p.m. in Ballroom D of the Tampa Convention Center, 333 South Franklin St.

Former state Rep. Mike Fasano, R-New Port Richey, had asked for a hearing to be held in the area “due to the enormous impact a rate increase would have on Citizens policyholders in our community,” he said in a news release.

Fasano is now Pasco County tax collector.

Citizens homeowners policyholders in the Tampa Bay area could be paying as much as $200 more yearly as the insurer seeks approval from the state to raise rates.

The increases have to be approved by the Florida Office of Insurance Regulation.

Citizens, the state’s insurer of last resort, was formed in 2002 to insure “homes, businesses and condominiums whose owners otherwise might not be able to find coverage in the private market,” according to its website.

The company, a not-for-profit government corporation, has said it can’t charge as much as it needs to because of a 10 percent cap on rate increases. That’s leaving it in the hole to pay for future claims.

The Citizens board previously approved a request to raise rates by an average of 7 percent statewide next year, costing its more than 1 million policyholders a total of an extra $178 million.

Prices are going up for traditional homeowners insurance and sinkhole insurance. The cap on homeowner rates doesn’t apply to sinkhole coverage.

Sinkhole premiums are being raised in phases in Hernando, Hillsborough and Pasco counties. The Tampa Bay area has the highest sinkhole rates in Florida.

Citizens currently has more than 1.2 million policies in force.

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