Nationwide Insurance said it will seek arbitration in its effort to increase homeowners rates after being turned down by state regulators for an increase that would have been more than 70 percent on average.
The company said when it filed for the increase that it paid more than $1 billion in property damage claims during 2004 and 2005, when eight hurricanes affected the state. It also said its reinsurance costs had skyrocketed, forcing it to seek higher premiums.
But Insurance Commissioner Kevin McCarty said last month that the increase wasn’t justified. The requested increases would have ranged from very small in some parts of the state to more than 150 percent in others.
The company notified the Office of Insurance Regulation this week that it will appeal the case with a three-member state arbitration panel, although it is continuing negotiations with McCarty’s office.
The premium increase request would have allowed for a 15 percent profit for Nationwide Insurance Company of Florida, and included money to buy reinsurance from Nationwide’s own parent company.
Nationwide has about 253,000 policies in Florida, with the greatest amount of policyholders in Palm Beach County, the Tampa Bay area and Orlando.
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