Coastal Connection reported last month on efforts by Citizens Property Insurance, the state-run insurer of last resort for Florida homeowners who need windstorm coverage, to shed policies and raise rates in order to reduce the company's exposure in case of a hurricane.
This week, the Miami Herald is reporting that some Florida seniors are considering going without windstorm policies on their homes — or have actually allowed their insurance to lapse (“Senior citizens go without homeowners insurance amid soaring premiums," by Toluse Olorunnipa).
“Seniors are more likely to own their homes outright, meaning they have the option of going without property insurance," the paper reports. “As Citizens Property Insurance Corp. raises its rates and its post-claim deductibles, more older Floridians are doing the math and opting to do just that."
“Senior citizens covered by the state-run insurer also have to deal with limited fixed incomes, rising healthcare costs and stiffer insurance requirements targeting older homes," the paper pointed out. But Carlos Lacasa, the company's chairman, told the Herald that Citizens can't legally favor senior citizens over any other policyholder.
As Citizens hikes its rates, the effect is being felt in the real estate market and the homebuilding industry, reports the Herald (“Insurance 'sticker shock' for home buyers," by Toluse Olorunnipa). “Danny Hertzberg, a Miami Beach real estate agent, said that in the last six months he has seen insurance costs emerge for the first time as a 'big ticket item' with the potential to kill pending sales," the paper reports.
Citizens has also stopped issuing Builders Risk policies to cover homes under construction, raising the cost to builders. In the Florida Keys, according to Monroe County Commissioner Heather Carruthers, “Eliminating Builders' Risk has stopped construction and is damaging the Keys economy."