The excesses of Citizens rate hikes hit home bitterly

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One of those lawmakers was Will Weatherford, Republican House member from Wesley Chapel, who was the recipient (along with Senator Don Gaetz) of a lot of populist anger earlier this week as the co-chair of the redistricting meetings held in Tampa and Largo.

In an op-ed published last month, Weatherford wrote:

As a legislator who voted in favor of giving them flexibility, I am deeply disappointed in recent actions taken by Citizens. Instead of striking a balance, it stuck Floridians with dramatic rate increases, in some cases as high as $4,000 per year.

New Port Richey state Senator Mike Fasano was the leading critic of SB 408, and recently led a street protest against the proposed hikes. Fasano has said the bill should be repealed, and has called for hearings to be held on the matter across the state.

This morning Senator Fasano received this letter from one of his constituents, who said in fact she will have to move out of her home because of the proposed rate hikes from Citizens.

I have lived in my house over 20 years. My homeowners insurance in the last 5 years has gone up from $2100.00 to $6300.00 I am a single parent. I have Citizens. What are we suppose to do? I can longer can afford the homewowner's insurance premiums. I will need to sell the house my children grew up in (which will be difficult if not impossible ). Is this really what our government wants to do to people? I am not one of those people who didn't pay their mortgage and got help. I have never asked for anything! There is so much government waste and this is what we hurt people with? There will be no more middle or lower middle class people who will be able to afford to live here anymore. I appreciate your efforts in defending us but it seems futile. I guess renting a small apartment and putting my children's things in storage will be my only option. What a shame. Oh, by the way,my son is a 1st lieutenant in the Marine Corp and is putting his life on the line for our country and its people. And this is how we are treated? For shame!

Fasano concludes, "When someone associated with Tallahassee who carries the water for the Property Insurance Industry every session tells us Citizens Insurance premiums are too low please have them read the.. email."

  • Mike Fasano

In one of the great understatements of 2011, the website has a story that's title reads, "Is Citizens’ Rate Hike Backlash a Case of Buyer’s Remorse With SB 408?"

Uh, let me see. The answer to that is a screaming "yes."

The story chronicles what has been painfully obvious since the day that Citizens shockingly announced that rate hikes for sinkhole property insurance would rise in some cases by over 2,000 percent.

The state-run insurance company of last resort is able to do this because of the passage of SB 408 this past spring in the Florida Legislature. Now some of those lawmakers who supported the measure are admitting the obvious: there is no way these rate hikes can happen without people being forced to leave their homes, since they won't be able to afford their insurance, and in many cases, they'll lose their mortgage if they can't.

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