Citizens Property to impose whopping rate hikes

State approves double-digit increases

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ORLANDO, Fla. - If your home is insured by Citizens Property Insurance Corp., brace yourselves.  Your rates are about to soar by double digits.

The Office of Insurance Regulation said today it has approved a 10.8 percent increase on multi-peril homeowners' policies and an 8.8 percent hike on dwelling fire rates. Homeowners with sinkhole coverage will see an increase of 21.4 percent on their bills, and those with dwelling fire policies wanting sinkhole coverage should expect an increase of 44.8 percent. Most increases take effect Jan. 1. 

Citizens Property Insurance Corp. is a state-backed, non-profit company created after hurricane losses prompted many private insurers to stop writing policies in Florida.  Citizens was designed to insure hundreds of thousands of homes, businesses and condominiums whose owners otherwise might not be able to find coverage.  However, the company has become the state's largest property insurer, with 1.4 million policyholders in Florida.

According to the Associated Press, Citizens' has been boosting its rates in recent years to reach parity with private commercial carriers in hopes of shedding hundreds of thousands of policies.

Copyright 2012 by The Associated Press contributed to this report. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.