Citizen's Insurance rate increase set go into effect January 1st

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SARASOTA - On January 1st, more than 1.5 million property owners across the state could see an increase in their property insurance. But how will the changes being made by the state’s largest insurance company hit Sarasota residents in their wallets?

“There is going to be a base increase of 10%.” The change will drive up the rate charged just for getting insurance. But according to local insurance agent Florance Conlan, the increase is just a part of the trend. “Every few years, it’s normal for insurance companies to look at their rate based on current marketplace trends and things that are happening.”

Despite the reason for the rate increase, many homeowners aren't happy. “I mean where do they come up with the idea that they need more money? I’m totally against it,” says Gary Lasky.

But the 10% insurance increase isn't the only the thing residents have to worry about. There's also some concern about changes in premiums. “Other factors have already been improved by the state that could give people an even higher increase than 10%.”

Those factors include an increase in the surcharges for the catastrophe, and the emergency funds. Homeowners may also pay more if they are in areas that prone to sinkholes, wind, or hurricane damage. “I don't really see a reason they have a rate increase, seeing we haven't had a significant hurricane in years,” says Lasky.

But officials say that lack of activity may be driving the increase. “There are concerns that our time is coming, so we are due for catastrophe, so our rates are going to be affect for that anticipation if you will,” says Conlan.

But the move has some Citizens policy holders jumping ship. “I’m going to be looking for new insurance now,” says Lasky.