State denies insurer Farm Bureau’s proposed rate hike

Aug 6, 2008

Treasure Coast Palm–August 5, 2008

By Nadia Vanderhoof

The Florida Office of Insurance Regulation on Tuesday denied a June 20 rate hike request by Florida Farm Bureau Insurance Co.’s subsidiaries Farm Bureau General and Farm Bureau Casualty.

Farm Bureau was seeking a double-digit statewide average increase of 28.4 percent for its homeowners insurance. Some Farm Bureau policyholders could have seen increases of as much as 96 percent in Miami-Dade County. The smallest requested change was a decrease of 1 percent in Citrus County.

Deputy Commissioner Belinda Miller said the companies failed to provide necessary support for the rate increase requested.

Farm Bureau now has 21 days, if they choose, to petition the state for an administrative hearing. The company cannot implement the proposed rate increases. The 24.9 percent rate reduction that became effective in June 2007 for the company remains in effect.

The decision to deny the rate increase followed a public hearing at which a panel of representatives from the state questioned various aspects of the rate filing.

Florida law requires the Office of Insurance Regulation to conduct a public hearing for property insurance rate increase filings if they exceed a statewide average of 15 percent and if they are based on a computer model.