It appears that insurance consumers are about to feel the first results of Senate Bill 408. News outlets are reporting that sinkhole insurance rates will skyrocket if Citizens Property Insurance Corporation rate hikes are approved.
An example of the proposed rate increase was given in the St. Petersburg Times article, Some Citizens Rates Could Rise Thousands of Dollars:
If approved, that means in Tampa the average premium for a sinkhole policy would increase from $156 to $3,651. In coastal Pasco County, rates would increase from $1,270 to $3,598. In coastal Hernando County, premiums would soar from $1,356 to $5,734.
That’s on top of normal property insurance rate changes.
"I think it’s pretty likely," attorney Sean Shaw reluctantly acknowledged just minutes after Citizens’ Board of Governors signed off on the rate increase request.
Shaw is the former Insurance Consumer Advocate for Florida. He now works helping Bay Area homeowners who have disputes with their insurance companies.
"Citizens has their people who have said 400 percent statewide average is what they need. I’ve heard their spokesperson say that, so I assume they have some numbers to back that up," Shaw said. "You cannot justify that to me. That is outrageous."
State Senator Mike Fasano was very critical of the legislation that allowed this to happen. Similar to the televised news report, he claims that SB 408 will cause another foreclosure and real estate crisis in Florida.