Citizens' Rates May Rise

TAMPA -

The task force held their final meeting in Tampa as part of the state legislature's mandate to return Citizens as an 'insurer of last resort.' The best way to do that, it's members reasoned, is to shed as many customers as possible. So they agreed to recommend that Citizens be allowed to increase its rates by 10 percent a year, until it becomes 'actuarily sound.' That means premiums would bring in enough money to pay any potential claims.

Members also agreed to make it harder for people to stay with Citizens if other insurance is available. They recommended homeowners have to sign an affidavit stating that it would cost them at least 15 percent more if they had to switch to another company. Their list will be sent to lawmakers and the state Office of Insurance Regulation.

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