The Florida regulators have approved of Citizens proposal to raise insurance premiums again. Citizens initially requested a 11.2% increase but ultimately was approved for 10.8% increase in overall premiums. More importantly, Citizens was also approved a 21.4% increase in sinkhole premiums to be charged beginning on renewals in 2013. Citizens claimed it needed a 263% rate increase to keep up with sinkhole claims but only actually asked for 29.6%. During this meeting Citizens also had to admit that the number of new sinkhole claims, as well as money expended on current claims, has decreased in 2012. Citizens claims it is part of a plan to charge rates more competitively compared to what private insurance companies charge. Citizens also is planning to continue to cut the number of policies it carriers in the state. As of November over 200,000 former Citizens insureds are with private carriers now. Citizens has also discussed providing loans to some smaller private carriers to accept more of their insureds. I personally am all for this approach. Private carriers are good for the state. They provide more competitive pricing, better customer service and personal attention and do take some burden off the state. Plus, the less I have to deal with Citizens, the better.

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