Florida home insurers lining up for rate increases

Beachfront homes in Fort Lauderdale. (Google satellite map)

Three major home insurers in Florida want rate hikes: Allstate's Florida subsidiaries want 21.9 percent and 32.7 percent statewide average increases, Universal Insurance Co. of North America wants a 22 percent average increase and State Farm wants a 14.9 percent average increase.

Regulators will hold a hearing Wednesday to question State Farm about its proposed 58 percent increase for policyholders who rent their homes instead of live in them. They’ve also scheduled hearings for Castle Key and Universal in the next two weeks.

Meanwhile, state-backed Citizens Property Insurance's board plans to vote Friday in Miami on its proposed rate hike, including a proposal to raise rates by more than 10 percent for new policyholders.

Castle Key Insurance and Castle Key Indemnity want a 32.7 percent increase and 21.9 percent increase, respectively.

Combined, they are Florida's fourth largest home insurers after Citizens, Universal Property & Casualty Insurance and State Farm. Castle Key Insurance has 124,382 home insurance policies statewide, including 27,361 in Broward, Palm Beach and Miami-Dade counties. Castle Key Indemnity has 128,377 policies, including 12,558 in Broward, Palm Beach and Miami-Dade counties.

Castle Key Insurance's increase includes a 44.9 percent increase for condominium unit owners, 8.8 percent for renters and 25.9 percent for basic and broad homeowners coverage. In its rate proposal, it says it needs the increase because of the hurricane risk in Florida, the cost of capital and the cost of reinsurance, among other things.

Castle Key Indemnity's increase includes an 18.4 percent increase for homeowners policies, 23.9 percent for special, broad homeowners policies and 21.2 percent for renters. In its rate request, it says it needed a 63 percent increase last year but planned to implement the increase in two years as "an appropriate transition period."

Universal Insurance Co. of North America wants a 22 percent statewide average increase, including a 24.5 percent increase for homeowners policies and no change for renters and condo unit owners.

Universal is among the top 20 home insurers in Florida with 75,225 policies, including 10,566 in South Florida.

State Farm Florida breaks down its proposed 14.9 percent increase in three groups: 48.8 percent for renters, 27.3 percent for condominium unit owners and 14.2 percent for homeowners policies, including the 58 percent increase for landlords. The increases are due to changes the insurer wants to make on home insurance discounts and deductibles.

The insurer has 466,797 policies, including 66,960 in Broward, Palm Beach and Miami-Dade counties.

The Office of Insurance Regulation doesn’t plan to hold a public hearing on the insurer's broader request for a 14.9 percent statewide average rate hike, which would be the insurer’s sixth increase in 2.5 years.

The Citizens meeting is Friday at 9 a.m. at JW Marriott Hotel, 11099 Brickell Ave., Miami. The State Farm hearing is at 9 a.m. Wednesday and it can be viewed live online on the Florida Channel.

The rate hearing for Universal is Aug. 2 and the Castle Key hearing is Aug. 7.