Citizens insurance sued for allegedly jacking up premiums

Home appraisal system questioned

NEW PORT RICHEY, Fla. - A class action lawsuit claims state-run Citizens Insurance gave itself a back door rate hike that cost homeowners hundreds of thousands in extra premiums.
 
"We're here to say enough is enough to Citizens," said David Welch of the Florida Association for Insurance Reform.  

His group, along with several Pasco County homeowners, held a press conference in Tallahassee Tuesday to accuse Citizens of routinely requiring customers to insure their homes for more than the actual replacement cost.
 
Citizens Insurance has been using an appraisal software program called 360 Value.  The homeowners complain that system inflates the home value, forcing them to buy insurance they don't need.
 
Citizens Insurance claims they're only trying to protect policyholders from being underinsured in the event of a catastrophic loss. In a statement issued Tuesday, Christine Ashburn said, "Any assertion to the contrary is simply wrong."
 
Citizens recently started allowing customers to submit their own property appraisals.  Still, the plaintiff's attorneys told ABC Action News that they will be seeking refunds for customers who can show they were overcharged.

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