Citizens Property Insurance Rates Could Skyrocket Under Proposed Legislation

Apr 19, 2013

Attorney Sean Shaw is a critic of Citizens Property Insurance. He is founder of the group Policyholders of Florida.
Credit Gina Jordan/WLRN

The Florida Legislature is considering big changes to Citizens Property Insurance Corp.

The state-run insurer is supposed to be the last resort for property owners in high risk areas who can't get coverage in the private insurance market.

Citizens Property has about 1.3 million policy holders.

The company is trying to reduce its risk by raising premiums and sending hundreds of thousands of customers back to the private market.

Former Florida Insurance Consumer Advocate Sean Shaw says legislation pending in Tallahassee would lead to extreme rate hikes for some new Citizens policyholders.

He is founder of the group Policyholders of Florida.

The Senate bill was postponed Tuesday, but it's likely to be heard by the full Senate and House next week.

Critics believe the delay means sponsors are working on a compromise because they don't have enough votes to pass the legislation as it's currently written.

We spoke with Shaw about Citizens' role as the state run insurance company, what needs to change, and what Citizens could do better.