One of Florida’s largest homeowner insurers has announced it will once again begin writing new business in the state, just several years after canceling a substantial portion of its book of business.
State Farm Florida announced it has plans to offer new homeowners and renters policies for the first time since 2009.
State Farm Florida Spokesperson Michal Brower said that while the insurer is unable to supply specific details, the new homeowners policies would be offered to current State Farm customers who are moving within the state, State Farm customers moving to Florida from other states, as well as some new customers.
“While limited in scope, this is a positive step that may offer State Farm customers additional opportunities to purchase homeowners and renters coverage,” said Brower.
Brower said that the insurer has no current plans to offer additional coverage, but says the insurer will continue to examine Florida’s market.
“We recognize the unique challenges of the Florida insurance market and continually evaluate and monitor our ongoing efforts to responsible manage our growth in Florida,” he said.
According to the state’s Office of Insurance Regulation, State Farm had 400,000 policies in force in the state as of September 2013.
State Farm Florida stopped writing new property business in 2009 and sought a statewide average 47 percent increase. At the time, the insurer said the increase was needed given the losses from Hurricane Wilma in 2005 and hurricanes Ivan and Frances in 2004.
State Farm Florida put regulators on notice that it would exit the state entirely unless the rate increase was granted.
To avoid that scenario, regulators in 2010 signed-off on a plan that granted State Farm Florida a 14.8 percent rate hike with the proviso that the insurer could cancel 125,000 homeowners and commercial residential policies.
State Farm to Stay in Florida, Cancel 15% of Policies, Raise Rates 15%