UPDATE: Sen. Flores’ bill passed favorably out of the Senate Rules Committee. Senate Bill 1476 had its second reading on April 25, and as of this post is waiting for its third reading on April 26. Sen. Flores was able to explain our issue to the full Senate, which is the first time for them to hear about our issue in such a setting. This is a positive step in having our priorities heard by a larger audience in Tallahassee.
FIRM Vice president Steve Russ is in Tallahassee on April 23, 2019 to testify before the Florida Senate Rules Committee in support of SB 1476. SB 1476 would limit Citizens Property Insurance annual rate increases for Monroe County to 5%, half of the currently permitted 10% annual increase. The bill was introduced by Senator Anitere Flores to address the impact of wind insurance on the cost of home ownership and workforce housing throughout Monroe County, which is an Area of Critical State Concern.
Windstorm insurance rate increases have driven Monroe County rates to over 220% of what they were 10 years ago. Current hurricane loss projection models do not incorporate local building codes. Monroe County’s codes are and have been the strongest in the State.
The various hurricane models approved by the state produce a wide spread of damage projections. Citizens has traditionally relied on a model that was very unfavorable to Monroe County to set local rates.
Monroe County wind insurance rates are the highest in the state. From 2004 through 2018, including Wilma and Irma losses, Monroe County Citizens’ policyholders have paid over $805 million more in premiums than they have received in claims. Fair Insurance Rates in Monroe (FIRM) is a grassroots non-profit working for affordable and available wind and flood insurance for Monroe County. FIRM’s efforts have resulted in over $500 million in catastrophe insurance savings for Monroe and a variety other related insurance benefits.