Fair Insurance Rates in Monroe (FIRM) President Mel Montagne and Treasurer Joe Walsh met with Florida State Senate President Pro Tempore Anitere Flores on Monday, February 27, to lay plans for suspending the excessive and unaffordable windstorm rate increases levied by Citizens Property Insurance Corporation (Citizens) on Monroe County. In addition to Senate Pro Tem, Senator Flores is Chair of the Senate Banking & Insurance Committee. As such, she is in a unique position to address the needs of Monroe County. Monroe County Government is also working with FIRM on these efforts.
During the meeting with Senator Flores, the FIRM representatives expressed support for legislation the Senator will introduce to enact a 5-year freeze on further rate increases on Monroe County. This 5-year pause was FIRM’s highest priority as the inconsistent results of the hurricane catastrophe models used by Citizens have led to an unfair cumulative 221% rate increase since 2010. They also fail to recognize Monroe County’s unique geography. FIRM also emphasized Citizens’ refusal to consider State statutes requiring affordability in setting Monroe County rates, which are the highest in Florida. This has resulted in Monroe County paying a staggering $769 million in premiums while generating only $83 million in claims (2004-2015). Monroe County’s claim to premium ratio over those same 12 years is .11 as compared to a statewide ratio of .64.
FIRM president, Mel Montagne stated after the meeting, “We have a strong ally in Senator Flores. We are very optimistic that with the Senator’s and Representative Raschein’s help we will finally be able to bring a pause to the increasing windstorm rates that are unjustifiable, unaffordable, and discriminatory against Monroe County.”
FIRM is a grassroots organization formed in 2006 to fight for fair property insurance rates for property owners and residents of Monroe County, Florida (Florida Keys). Through advocacy and community outreach, FIRM contributes to housing affordability and helps residents remain and prosper in our community. FIRM is composed of FIRMKeys, a non-profit 501(c)3, and FIRMPAC, a companion 501(c)4 organization. Visit www.firmkeys.org for more information.