Daytona Beach News Journal: Citizens insurance hike reveals Florida’s needless cruelty to those in need | Commentary

In just about 26 minutes on Wednesday, the well-to-do group of political appointees who oversee Citizens Property Insurance Corp., Florida’s state-backed insurer of last resort, approved drastic rate increases for policyholders who renew next year, equating to hundreds of dollars in extra premium costs for most of the insurer’s 1.2 million customers.

Nate Monroe 

In just about 26 minutes on Wednesday, the well-to-do group of political appointees who oversee Citizens Property Insurance Corp., Florida’s state-backed insurer of last resort, approved drastic rate increases for policyholders who renew next year, equating to hundreds of dollars in extra premium costs for most of the insurer’s 1.2 million customers.

That short meeting perfectly encapsulated the corporate cruelty of Florida government: That Citizens is inflicting pain on its customers is no accident. Judged by the prevailing mood during Wednesday’s board of governors meeting, it was a reason to celebrate.

And that’s because the state’s elected leaders don’t see Citizens, Florida’s largest insurer, as a powerful tool to help floundering homeowners in Florida’s failed insurance market but as an albatross, and they don’t view its customers as people in need but as numbers on a spreadsheet they’d rather delete. Instead of leveraging a viable public insurance option to help homeowners who are drowning in skyrocketing costs, state officials are myopically focused on kicking them off it. The result is “depopulation,” a clinical euphemism that in practice means coercing Citizens customers into entering a chaotic private marketplace that has failed Floridians for years, and in which they may well end up paying even higher rates.

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