Nationwide Insurance Requests Fla. Statewide 28.3 Percent Rate Increase

January 26, 2005

Floridian homeowners with policies issued by Nationwide Insurance Company of Florida, the state’s fourth-largest insurer has asked the Office of Insurance Regulation to approve a 28.3 percent rate increase. Nationwide submitted a request this week to OIR asking to increase homeowners rates in Palm Beach County 33.1 percent and Broward County 16.6 percent.

The company’s request reflects an average statewide decrease of 1.4 percent for renters policies through Nationwide, while condo policyholders would see an average statewide increase of 26.8 percent. Broward County condo owners who insure with Nationwide would see a 19.9 percent increase in their premiums, while Palm Beach County condo owners would see a 15.2 percent increase.

According to OIR figures Nationwide charges an average of $1,952 a year in Broward County and $1,816 a year in Palm Beach County for a policyholder seeking $150,000 of coverage on a five-year-old masonry home. If the OIR approves Nationwide’s increase the average premium on that coverage would increase to $2,276.03 in Broward and $2,417.10 in Palm Beach County.

“As seen in the results of this past hurricane season, our surplus is subject not only to the risk of a severe storm but also from the frequency of such events,” the rate request states.

State law prohibits insurance companies from requesting increases to cover losses from previous storms. But in the company’s filing officials wrote that they needed to make enough money to cover future hurricane losses.

According to Joe Case, a Nationwide spokesman, for competitive reasons the company doesn’t comment on its rates, or how they’re set.

OIR has 90 days to review Nationwide’s request, if approved, the company would go from mid-range to one of the most expensive coverages in Palm Beach and Broward counties.

The company joins an ever-growing number of insurers that have requested rate increases since the four hurricanes that hit Florida in 2004.

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