Florida-based Heritage Property & Casualty Company recently withdrew its petition to raise homeowners insurance rates after heavy criticism and a review by the Florida Office of Insurance Regulation (OIR). The company originally planned to raise rates by just over fourteen percent, despite recording a 7.4 million dollar profit for the year’s first quarter. Heritage is one of the state’s largest take-out companies of Citizens, considered Florida’s last resort.
All Florida homeowner’s insurance companies including Heritage are subject to annual rate filing requirements and all rate filings submitted must be reviewed by the OIR. OIR indicated through much back and forth with Heritage that the 14.9 percent rate increase filing would not be approved.
Heritage Property & Casualty Company mentioned assignment of benefits (AOB) due to water loss as its primary reason for the considerable rate increase. The biggest increases would have largely affected South Florida where AOB remains a major issue. Heritage’s proposed HO-3 policy increases for Miami-Dade customers was as high as 22 percent. Heritage’s explanation for the rate increase in its 801-page rate filing was not enough to convince OIR that the increase was justified. OIR also notified Heritage that its filing to change policy form language to restrict water loss claims and AOB’s would not be approved as submitted. OIR said the filing from Heritage was more restrictive than what has been approved for other insurers attempting to curb AOB claims.
Despite withdrawing its rate increase plans, Heritage did state that it would be resubmitting a new request at a later date, so there is still a chance policyholders may eventually face higher rates.
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