Home Insurance ‘Never seen anything like this.’ Local insurance agent reacts to latest hike in costs

‘Never seen anything like this.’ Local insurance agent reacts to latest hike in costs

by Cedric Guzman

Florida Homeowners Brace for Significant Increases in Property Insurance Costs

More than 1.3 million homeowners in Florida who insure their properties with Citizens Property Insurance are facing a significant blow to their wallets. It has been reported that nearly all policyholders can anticipate at least a 10% increase in their insurance costs in the near future. Citizens Property Insurance recently presented a proposal to the Florida Office of Insurance Regulation, requesting an average 11% rate increase for homeowners with the most common type of policy.

The proposed rate hike is the latest development in an expanding insurance price problem that has swept across the state. Gregory Buck, the owner of National Risk Experts, an independent insurance agency in Palm Beach Gardens, expressed his concern, stating, “We’ve never seen anything like this.” Buck, who has been in the industry for more than two decades, believes that home insurance prices are soaring now more than ever, potentially creating a doom and gloom scenario for residents.

The spike in insurance costs has led some homeowners to contemplate leaving Palm Beach County or even the state altogether. Buck emphasized that the situation is expected to worsen as Citizens, which operates under state jurisdiction, seeks to steer more policyholders toward private carriers. As a result, Buck predicts that private carriers will also raise their prices significantly. He warned, “If Citizens is going up 14%, that’s going to be the minimum that we’re going to see on these increases. I think we may even see more.”

In light of the impending rate increases, Buck advises his clients to take proactive measures to protect themselves. He suggests making improvements to their homes to make them more attractive to insurance companies. Often, the money spent on these upgrades can result in savings on insurance premiums. Buck explained, “You can sometimes upgrade for a thousand dollars or so, and that will help you reduce your costs on the insurance and how it’s rated.”

Meanwhile, Citizens Property Insurance defended its rate increase proposal, stating that it is a necessary step to strengthen the Florida property insurance market. Michael Peltier, a spokesperson for Citizens, acknowledged the disappointment policyholders may feel but emphasized the broader benefits, stating, “The increase will help return Citizens to its intended role and reduce the risk of assessments on Florida insurance consumers, most of whom are not Citizens policyholders and are already paying higher rates.”

As homeowners in Florida prepare for the imminent rise in property insurance costs, many are left grappling with the financial implications. The industry’s response and the actions of policyholders will determine how the situation unfolds in the coming months.

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