Fla. Rep. Tom Fabricio hosts town hall about insurance

Community By Alexandra Herrera, Reporter Thursday, June 20, 2024


     Fla. Rep. Tom Fabricio, R-Miami Lakes, held a meeting about home insurance at Miami Lakes Town Hall to allow residents to question of Citizens Property Insurance President and Chief Executive Officer Tim Cerio. 

     About 15 people, including Vice Mayor Tony Fernandez and council members Marilyn Ruano and Ray Garcia attended the June 6 presentation. 

     Fabricio and Cerio gave an update on the insurance market in Florida and welcomed residents to talk about their concerns. 

     Property owners around the state are complaining about rising costs to insure their homes or being abandoned by insurers that no longer write policies in the state.

     Citizens Property Insurance is known as the insurer of last resort. 

     “Ideally we’re supposed to be there when folks [who] have a home that should be insured, but the private market is not interested,” Cerio said. 

     Cerio said older homes, houses that are updated but have older roofs or are located on a coast are some of the reasons private insurance companies are walking away. 

     “It’s not the homeowner’s fault,” Cerio said. “…with Florida, the idea would be that Citizens should be a little more expensive because we are the last resort.” 

     Cerio said things are improving after changes to Florida laws. 

     “There were guidelines put into place,” Cerio said. “No one can make an offer now of more than 40 percent.”

     Questions ranged from how to retain policies and how to opt-in, the security of policies and how to get issues addressed. 

     Fernandez is a former Citizens Property Insurance policy holder and had an issue following two in-depth home inspections. 

     “I have a pool with a pool safety barrier … I don’t have a fence,” said Fernandez, who lives on a lake. He said and Citizens wanted him to have a new fence around his whole property. 

    “Because of that, Citizen said I had seven days to erect a fence and show evidence that I had a fence, or the policy would be canceled.” 

     He said he was forced to use another insurer when Citizens dropped him. 

     “That shouldn’t have happened,” said Cerio, promising to investigate. 

      Fabricio said anyone with insurance issues could call his office at 305-503-3737.