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Citizens Property Insurance Votes To Lower Rates In 2015

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TALLAHASSEE (CBSMiami/AP) – If you homeowner’s policy is with Citizens Property Insurance, you’re going to be paying a bit less next year.

On Wednesday the board of the state’s largest property insurer voted to lower rates by an average of 3.2 percent for single family homeowners in 2015. The state-created insurer says that nearly 70 percent of those with homeowner policies should see some sort of decrease.

For some customers, including those living in coastal regions from the Panhandle to the Atlantic coast, the drop could be as much as 10 percent.

“The rates approved today by the board indicate that Citizens is moving in the right direction,” Citizens President and CEO Barry Gilway said in a statement. “They also are a clear sign that Citizens and all Florida property owners will see clear benefits from improving financial stability in the private insurance market.”

The decision to lower rates, which must still be approved by state regulators, is coming during an election year.

Citizens has more than 928,000 policyholders across the state.

A continual cry by some GOP legislators has been that Citizens rates have been priced too low and that the insurer is unfairly competing with private insurance companies.

But company officials insist that several factors have diminished the need for rate hikes next year. The state has not been hit with a hurricane since 2005 which has enabled Citizens to spend less of getting back-up financing to cover hurricane damages. Gilway stressed to board members that Citizens has a surplus right now of nearly $8 billion and can cover nearly 20 billion in damages if a storm does hit.

Some Citizens customers will still likely see an increase, including condominium customers and those coastal homeowner customers who have just wind only coverage. Those with sinkhole coverage in Hernando County will also pay 10 percent more.

(TM and © Copyright 2014 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2014 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

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