To the editor:
I am writing you regarding Citizens Wind Insurance Program. During the past week we received through our insurance broker, BB&T-Oswald Trippe and Company, the cost of our wind insurance for 2013. I reside in Admirals Bay Condominium, which is comprised of two three-story buildings and 38 units. The increase in our premium for wind insurance for 2013 is 250 percent or $600 per unit.
Given this astronomical increase for a single year, we held a meeting with our Insurance Broker and the Board of Directors to ascertain what caused this unreasonable increase. The answer we were told was a structure reclassification. The buildings are three stories of concrete block with wood truss rafters.
Citizens Wind did not provide our association with any advance notice as to reclassification of our building structure or the amount of the rate increase.
It seems that such a significant increase in the rate, if required and necessary, should at the very least be implemented over a period of years. I assume numerous condominium associations in the Lee County as well as all beach frontage structures across Florida are facing similar increases.
Since Citizens Wind Insurance is the only game in town, owners are at the mercy of this government established agency regarding arbitrary risk definitions and rate increases. Some alternatives must be considered, such as letting Citizens compete in other more profitable insurance coverage markets like automobile insurance. Another choice is permitting the formation of insurance cooperatives or mutual insurance structures. It is my understanding this concept is commonly referred to as the Citizens' Surplus Note Program.
Fort Myers Beach
(The letter was also sent to Representative Heather Fitzenhagen in Tallahassee.)