State Farm and the Florida Farm Bureau insurance companies have asked Florida state regulators to approve rate increases for homeowners’ policies. State Farm’s company spokesman has reported that, since 2000, for every dollar in premiums collected the company spent $1.20 in claims and other expenses, including salaries and profits. State Farm requested an average statewide increase of 47.1 percent. Premiums are estimated to increase 63 percent in Volusia County and 60 to 85 percent in Flagler County.

Florida Farm Bureau has proposed an overall increase of 28.4 percent. Premiums are estimated to increase 30.1 percent in Volusia County and 35.6 percent in Flagler County. State Regulators conducted a hearing Wednesday, July 30 on the Farm Bureau request and will conduct an August 12 hearing on the State Farm request.

Following State Farm’s rate filing announcement, Governor Charlie Crist wrote to Insurance Commissioner Kevin McCarty to indicate his great concern about State Farm's request for a 47.1 percent hike. Crist wrote:

"While you have not had an opportunity to review this rate filing, I am concerned that such a significant rate increase could create a breaking point for the budgets of some of our fellow Floridians."

A copy of Crist’s letter to Commissioner McCarty is here.

The Office of Insurance Regulation’s Media Advisory regarding the Florida Farm Bureau rate hearings is here.