Florida Treasurer and Insurance Commissioner Tom Gallagher rejected in late June a request by State Farm to raise homeowners insurance rates by 22%. State Farm, the largest writer of homeowners policies in Florida, also was denied a 132% rate hike affecting owners of condominiums and apartment buildings."State Farm proposed rates that are unwarranted and beyond reasonable," Gallagher said.

State Farm received a statewide average increase of 6.4 percent in 2001. The Department of Insurance approved another 14.3 percent average increase for the company in January, based on a recent trend of losses.

State Farm, the nation's largest writer of auto and home policies, reported combined property/casualty underwriting losses of $9.3 billion in 2001.

Gallagher acknowledged that some Florida residents have been hit especially hard by the back-to-back rate hikes.

"The price tag for homeowners is an additional $128 million a year in premiums, leaving some homeowners with cumulative increases as high as 125%," Gallagher said. "Double-dipping for rates in the same year is inexcusable."

State Farm can appeal Gallagher's decision.

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