foreclosed_home_web.jpgSARASOTA, Fla. (AP) _ Many Florida homeowners expected relief from the higher property insurance bills that followed the busy 2004 and 2005 seasons. But more than 4 million Florida homeowners are about to get hit again by rate hikes and disappearing coverage.


State regulators have approved $718 million in rate increases _ despite five years with no hurricanes.

The insurance industry and its advocates say the increases are the result of nearly three years of government attempts to control rates.

Florida insurers continue to claim they are losing money. But the Sarasota Herald-Tribune reported Sunday that those figures also hide profits in the form of payments to affiliated companies.

A consumer advocate says those payments are inflated and add hundreds to homeowners' bills.