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Statement from Florida’s Chief Financial Officer Tom Gallagher regarding Recent Rate Requests

2/3/2005

CONTACTO:Tami Torres
(850) 413-2842   
 
"Today, I'm asking for a freeze on all insurance rate increases for homeowners policies.
 
"After hearing that the Office of Insurance Regulation approved double-digit rate increases on homeowners just last summer, Nationwide has submitted a second round of rate requests – an average 28.3 percent for homeowners and in excess of 100 percent for mobile homes. 
 
"I'm extremely concerned that there is a trend with companies, including Nationwide, trying to recoup their losses from the hurricanes or raising their rates so policyholders are forced to drop coverage.
 
"Homeowners who have suffered losses from the four back-to-back storms should not be victimized a second time. 
 
"Insurance companies should not be in a rush to raise rates. 
"The prudent thing to do is to slow down and consider the consequences of rate increases on storm victims who are not able to handle an additional financial burden.
 
"That's why I'm asking state regulators to hold off approval of pending and future rate increases.
 
"The market needs to stabilize and state lawmakers should have the opportunity to act on recommendations for insurance reform that will help offset the need for rate increases."