By Jim Saunders The News Service of Florida
TALLAHASSEE — Pointing to a “crisis” in costly water-damage claims, the Citizens Property Insurance Board of Governors on Wednesday unanimously approved a proposed 6.8 percent statewide rate increase.
The proposal would have varying effects for customers of the state-backed insurer, with some homeowners seeing premiums go up more than 6.8 percent and some seeing smaller increases — or even decreases. State regulators will decide whether to approve the rate changes, which would take effect in early 2017.
Citizens officials primarily blame the higher rates on increases in water-damage claims and a related, politically charged issue known as “assignment of benefits.” The issue, which drew heavy attention during this year’s legislative session, involves homeowners signing over benefits to contractors, who ultimately pursue payments from insurance companies.