McCarty Orders Florida Peninsula To Cut Its Rates And Revise Its Business Plan
TALLAHASSEE (10/25/2006) - Florida Insurance Commissioner Kevin McCarty today ordered Florida Peninsula Insurance Company (Florida Peninsula) to reduce the rates it has been charging policyholders and to revise its business plan. Florida Peninsula's book of business contains wind-only property insurance policies that it took out of Citizens Property Insurance Corporation (Citizens). These policies are primarily located in southeast Florida and in the Florida Keys.
Florida Peninsula filed a rate increase with the Office of Insurance Regulation (Office) in April to increase its rates by a statewide average of 91 percent and began imposing the rates prior to obtaining Office approval under the use-and-file provisions of Florida statutes. This effectively doubled the rates that many of Florida Peninsula's policyholders were paying at the time they were taken out of Citizens.
"I am ordering Florida Peninsula to reduce its rates to no more than 25 percent above Citizens rates," said McCarty. "The dramatic price hikes in the global reinsurance markets have hit Floridians very hard, but to expect policyholders to shoulder this type of an increase is unsustainable. This company needs to restructure and it needs to reduce these rates. "
In Monroe County Florida Peninsula will charge rates equal to Citizens recently ordered rates. The impact from the decrease in Monroe County rates cannot be reallocated to other counties.
Florida Peninsula must pay policyholders the difference, if any, between the amount actually paid by each policyholder since June 15, 2006, and the rate mandated by the Order, along with interest, on the policy renewal date. The payments can consist of a credit toward the renewal premium for any policyholder whose policy renews after October 11, 2006, but for policyholders who cancel or non-renew their policy after that date the refund must be made by check.
On October 11th, McCarty issued an order allowing all Floridians who were being charged unapproved rates, which included Florida Peninsula policyholders, to seek coverage from Citizens. Any of the Florida Peninsula customers who pursued this option between October 11th and 31st must have the opportunity to reinstate their coverage with Florida Peninsula under this new order.
McCarty also ordered Florida Peninsula to submit a revised business plan to the Office within 30 days. The plan must detail how the company will transition from covering wind-only policies to offering only multi-peril residential insurance policies. In addition, Florida Peninsula must cease writing new wind-only policies and reduce its exposure in southeast Florida and in the Florida Keys. That exposure will have to be balanced over other areas of the state.
"The plan of operation for Florida Peninsula must be reworked so that its rate needs are more stable and, in fact, are reduced over time," said McCarty. "We need to work to prevent policyholders from being put into similar difficult situations in the future and to improve the financial strength of the company."
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