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Companies Ask For Rate Hikes In Virtual Hearings With Florida's Office Of Insurance Regulation

MIAMI (CBSMiami) – In a story we shared last month, the Insurance Information Institute pinpointed two causes for rate hikes. One, rampant roof replacement fraud schemes. Two, runaway litigation filed against insurers. The byproduct: three property insurance companies eye mega increases.

Three insurance companies asked for increases in virtual hearings with Florida's Office of Insurance Regulation Tuesday.

The biggest, Florida Farm Bureau, seeks a 48.7% jump in rates for homeowners' policies.

The company's VP Ben Kimmons said, "We've seen many more roof claims with much higher costs."

They're not alone.  First Floridian Auto and Home asks for a 23% increase.  The company points to "dubious" roof claims as to why payouts have doubled in the past three years.

First Floridian VP Robert Aaron said, "We do not want to non-renew but we cannot continue forward at this unsustainable rate level."

KIN Interinsurance Network eyes a 25.1% hike.

CIO Angel Conlin points to the litigation landscape making the situation untenable.

"This isn't because of storm activity; it's primarily because of litigation abuse as well as inflation. Florida's incredibly high rate of insurance litigation is driven by a unique Florida law that does not exist in other states," Conlin said.

Gov. Ron DeSantis was in Miami on Tuesday.  CBS4 pressed him on how he hopes to tackle the property insurance crisis in the special session next week.

"At the end of the day, we have about 8% of the insurance claims for homeowners nationwide," said DeSantis. "The state represents 78% of all the litigation nationwide with homeowners' policies, and so the incentives are skewed. And it's not serving the interests of folks who are seeing these major premium hikes that are happening. So we're going to address, there's going to be a whole host of things that are going to be done."

Regulators will review the requests before making a decision in the coming weeks.

The special session begins on Monday, May 23.  CBS4's Joe Gorchow will be in Tallahassee to cover what unfolds in the session.

The housing crisis is leaving many desperate for help. That's why CBS News Miami wants to share your stories to show the crisis you're in or how you navigated the system. We will highlight these issues and work to get answers and solutions. Send us an email at housing@cbs.com.

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