Bill would cut costs to Citizens Insurance customers in Dade, Monroe

Miami-Dade and Monroe county property owners would get a break on Citizens Property Insurance Co. premiums under legislation that cleared a Senate panel Monday — and customers in other counties might pay more as a result.

The bill (SB 1476) by Sen. Anitere Flores, a Republican whose district includes the affected areas, would limit rate increases on Citizens policies to 5 percent per year. It was OK’d by the Senate Banking and Insurance Committee.

The limit compares to the 10 percent maximum hike imposed under existing law for the insurer of last resort, even when actuarial data suggest rates should be higher.

For example, Miami-Dade would require an increase of 26.7 percent to be actuarially sound. In Monroe, slammed by Hurricane Irma last year, the figure is 47.2 percent.

The restriction would take effect next year and last through 2024. It would save policyholders $52.5 million in that time, according to the committee staff analysis.

“What Sen. Flores is proposing is not optimal, but it’s a better solution that what’s currently happening now. People are getting priced out of the market,” argued Sen. Tom Lee, a Thonotosassa Republican.

St. Petersburg Republican Jeff Brandes cast the lone ‘no’

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