MIAMI -

The governing board of Florida's insurer of last resort is preparing to vote on a proposed increase of at least 7.5 percent for most policyholders.

The Citizens Property Insurance Corp. board was set to vote on the rate hike request Friday in Miami. The state-backed Citizens is Florida's largest property insurer with 1.4 million customers. Citizens by law cannot raise rates more than 10 percent per year.

Many private home insurers abandoned Florida because of the threat of catastrophic hurricane damage. Others have sharply raised rates because of the risk.

The Citizens rate increase would be higher for homeowners in areas at most risk for sinkholes.

The proposed increase must also be approved by state regulators.

Citizens is cutting policies to reduce its potential exposure to major hurricane damage.