This week's announcement from the state-run Citizens Property Insurance that premiums would rise by a statewide average of 3.2 percent. Thursday's report in the Herald also noted that coastal homeowners would be hit with an average multi-peril rate increase of 8.6 percent and condominium owners are in line for an average 10.2 percent premium hike.
That likely alarmed homeowners on Anna Maria Island, Longboat Key and other coastal communities.
But Citizens chief risk officer, John Rollins, told Citizens board members, "Nobody pays the average."
In a bit of a surprise, Manatee County policyholders will instead enjoy a rate reduction of anywhere between 9.8 percent and 5 percent, according to the company's recommendation. The proposal must be approved by Florida Insurance Commissioner Kevin McCarty.
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Steep premium increases are focused on South Florida because of a current surge in water damage claims and the large number of valuable homes packed into hurricane-vulnerable areas.
Manatee County's bonus from Citizens comes as a welcome relief in the wake of large federally mandated rate increases from the National Flood Insurance Program for properties in flood zones along rivers, bays, and lakes, and, of course, the Gulf of Mexico.
The new rate structure, implemented this year on April Fool's Day, boosts premiums for primary homeowners by an average of 10 percent annually, and secondary vacation-home owners will average 18 percent, both with surcharges adding to the bill.
Those annual rate increases will continue until premiums reach the total risk of land that sits in a mapped flood zone.