In October Fair Insurance Rates in Monroe (FIRM) requested Citizens Property Insurance Corp. CEO Barry Gilway grant relief under s. 627.371(1), F.S. from the 2017 rate increases proposed by Citizens and approved by the Florida Office of Insurance Regulation (OIR). That request was denied. FIRM is now requesting that OIR grant relief by ordering Citizens to recalculate the Monroe County rates based on the issues presented, or at the very least suspend the effective date of the rates, pending the completion of a review of the rate setting process by the Florida Commission on Hurricane Loss Projection Methodology.

FIRM asserts that the rates are excessive, unfairly discriminatory, are not actuarially sound, and violate both the spirit and substance of Chapter 627, Florida Statues, the stated purpose of which is to provide affordable property insurance and orderly insurance markets. Since 2010 Citizens’ Monroe County premiums have increased by 221%. Since 2004 Citizens’ premiums have consistently exceeded claims and drained an excess of over $685 million from the local economy.

In denying FIRMS original request, Gilway responded that while he appreciates, “that the economics, demographics and geography of Monroe County are unique in Florida,” he had denied the group’s request for review based on “procedural and technical issues” which have no relevance on the rate-making methodology at question. Gilway stated, “the ultimate solution for Monroe County is to attract a competitive insurance market for your home and business owners.” The decision by Citizens not to honor FIRM’s request offered no justification of how blending or averaging of the four hurricane model predictions produces a valid result and actuarially supported rates. While FIRM awaits a response from OIR, the FIRM continues to explore all other legal and administrative options available to it.

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