Action 9

‘I was like having a panic attack’: Outrageous insurance hikes rattle homeowners

ORLANDO, Fla. — Many homeowners face insurance sticker shock this summer as premium rate hikes seem out of control.

An Orange County man’s rate spiked by 600%.

“I felt like I was gonna have a heart attack,” Rodney Richardson said.

Richardson checked his homeowners insurance renewal notice.

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“I was like having a panic attack. I kept looking at it. I needed to get my glasses,” Richardson said.

His new annual premium was going to be more than $10,000. Last year he paid nearly $1,500 to insure a 1,000 square-foot home near Orlando.

Richardson contacted his provider, Olympus Insurance, and said he heard, “That they had been denied increases by the state of Florida and they were now catching it up to what it would be.”

Richardson’s case is extreme but tens of thousands of homeowners will be stunned by premium rate hikes if they can keep their current policies.

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Insurance experts and consumer advocates call it a perfect storm that is fueling unprecedented rate hikes as high as 20%, 30% and 40% and shocking examples like Richardson’s.

“Just unbelievable difficulties,” Barry Gillway said.

Gillway leads Citizens Property Insurance. The company is backed by the state of Florida and is the insurer of last resort. Business is booming at Citizens with new policies as private insurance premiums soar.

Gillway says Florida-based companies had few options after underwriting losses

of $1.6 billion last year.

“So what’s happening at the end of the day Todd is you’ve got this situation where companies are losing their shirts,” Gillway said.

Todd Ulrich

Todd Ulrich,

I am WFTV's Action 9 Reporter.

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