Insurance Surcharges Add up for Florida Property Owners

December 22, 2006

Many Floridians already facing soaring insurance rates will be hit by additional surcharges that could tack another 9 percent to their premiums next year, according to the association that pays claims for defunct insurers.

The Florida Insurance Guaranty Association approved the latest 2 percent surcharge last week. It will most likely be added to most Florida property insurance policies in the spring.

The association already approved a 2 percent levy. Residents also face a 4 percent increase to offset the state-run Citizens Property Insurance Corp.’s 2005 losses and an additional 1 percent for the Florida Hurricane Catastrophe Fund, which is backup coverage for insurers.

Michelle Lovern, deputy director of the guaranty association, said the latest charge is needed to cover losses from the failure of Southern Family, Atlantic Preferred and Florida Preferred. The insurance companies were owned by Tampa-based Poe Financial Group.

The association is facing a $460 million shortfall, Lovern said. State law requires the association and Citizens to cover losses with insurance surcharges. The levy applies to all Florida property policies, except Citizens.

“It was a painful decision,” Lovern said of the most recent levy.

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