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More Home Insurance Follies

July 9, 2012

Apparently Citizens’ Insurance just fucks with its customers in hopes that they will leave and go somewhere else.  Which is kind of ridiculous, because there is nowhere else to go.

Actually, I did not come to that conclusion all by myself; my insurance broker told me that in so many words.   But my latest experience with the “insurer of last only resort” could be Exhibit A.

Here is my cautionary tale:

When last I visited this topic on this blog, I was trying to figure out how my premium had jumped by about 35 percent when, by law, Citizens’ can’t raise premiums of existing customers more than 10 percent per year.  Turned out that Citizens’ revised my coverage without telling me.  So I asked my insurance broker again if there wasn’t some other option.

After some checking around, he came up with an alternative, which was to split my coverage:  I’d stick with Citizens’ for the wind/hurricane coverage (duh! since you can’t get it anywhere else) and get coverage for “all other perils” from another carrier.  The projected savings were substantial—well over $1000.  It sounded good—or at least better—so I said “let’s do it.”

The first sign that it wasn’t working as expected was when I got three bills for the new Citizens’ policy (all for different amounts) even though I had paid 40 percent of the stated annual premium at the outset.  I couldn’t understand why they said I owed them money, particularly when they actually owed me a substantial refund for payments I had already made for the previous policy, which was supposed to have been cancelled.

When I went online to check out my account, I discovered that the annual premium shown for the new wind-only policy was TWICE what I had been quoted and almost as much as the full coverage policy I had before.

I called my broker in a panic, and after checking it out, he told me that 1) my previous policy hadn’t been cancelled so I was still paying for it, and 2) Citizens’ had removed all of my previous credits for wind mitigation (like new hurricane impact windows) even though it was the exact same house that was being insured and they already had all the documentation. He told me that I would have to resubmit the documentation for mitigation credits.   He also said I would have to AGAIN cancel the old policy and request that the refund due on the old policy be applied to the new one.

So now I have done all that, and I’m told that my premium will be reduced to what it was supposed to be and the credits applied, and within eight business days all will be well.  But why does it have to be so fucking hard?

It is indeed the stated policy of Citizens’ Insurance to shed as many customers as possible, even though it is all but impossible to get wind/hurricane coverage anywhere else unless you’re willing to pay prohibitively exorbitant  rates.  It also seems to be the unstated policy of the current administration in Tallahassee to make the state-run insurance company as incompetent and customer-hostile as possible.   This is, of course, in keeping with the Republican dogma that government-run programs are always bad.  Government-run programs are not necessarily inefficient and incompetent, but if they are purposely ill-managed, then the dogma becomes self-proving.

Florida has a high hurricane damage risk, and this is never going to change.  If people are going to live here, they need to have homeowners’ insurance.  Private insurance companies have left the state and probably won’t come back.  Therefore, why don’t we all accept the fact that we need a state-supported agency to fill this need and make it work instead of trying to kill it?

But I guess that would be radical socialism.

  1. Let’s call it legalized extortion, thanks be to Jeb. By hook or crook, pay off the bank and tell schitizens to go sit on a turd. For the cost of insurance, one can send a kid to college.

  2. George permalink

    You’re not alone. Now Citizens is sending out notices to reinspect your house in order to remove deductions. Tallahassee is doing nothing to help home owners.

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