House passes property insurance bill

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (AP) - The Florida House has passed a bill that would increase insurance rates for more than 1 million property insurance policyholders.

The bill (HB 1495) limits the annual rate increases to an average of 10 percent for customers of the state-backed Citizens Property Insurance Corp.

The measure passed Friday on a 75-33 vote.

Without the legislation, Citizens' policyholders could see premiums increase more than 40 percent on Jan. 1.

Instead, they'll pay the increase in smaller increments.

The Senate started debate on its version Friday, but didn't vote.

The goal of both bills is to reduce state's $20 billion exposure on the Florida Hurricane Catastrophe Fund while shoring up Citizens with actuarially sound policies.

(Copyright 2009 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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