Rate Hikes Wanted

State-run Citizen’s Property Insurance wants to increase rates by an average of 7 and a half percent for its customers.

“We’re confident that the rates we’ve requested adequately reflect what we need going forward,” said Mike Peltier.

The request for the increases comes after Citizens’ was caught mishandling hundreds of thousands of dollars. They say changes are in place to prevent another mishap.

“Many changes have been made to both internal expense policy and other issues,” said Peltier.

The insurer will get some extra help avoiding mismanagement in the future. Lawmakers approved hiring an Inspector General, 88 people applied. The final four candidates will undergo background checks before anyone is offered the job.

Rick Scott and the Cabinet will get the final say.

“I’m real excited about this selected of these four candidates for moving forward for the next step,” said Melinda Miguel.

While Citizens says the rates are needed to keep them on par with other companies. Opponents worry the insurance company will hurt customers.

“We’re encouraging everyone to get out there and say we want reasonable rates with reasonable coverage,” said Kevin Cate.

Citizens will hold a public hearing to discuss the rate hikes on Tuesday in Tampa to voice their opinions.

“If you live in South Florida, Central Florida or any area of the state where you see rates going up – go get to Tampa and have your voices heard,” said Cate.

The rate increases vary depending on the type of insurance. The largest increases will hit coastal properties.

Even with the rate hikes Citizens will still be below the average by 19.7%.