Florida stakeholders are pushing hard for the Florida Legislature to enact property insurance reforms this year to help the state address what has been deemed a market crisis. Read on for what everyone from the state’s insurance consumer advocate, to the insurance regulator, to realtors and agents, are saying about the current state of the Florida insurance market.
“Affordability has been and continues to be a real issue in our state for both auto and property and we’ve seen a pretty strong trend over the past year of insurance companies having to file for rate increases. All sectors of Florida’s business economy are paying property insurance, so it affects all consumers, both the individual homeowner like me or the business that has property insurance on their company’s buildings. It impacts all of us.”
David Hart, executive director Florida Chamber of Commerce, Florida Consumer Protection Coalition
“I am very concerned about the affordability and availability as it relates to homeowners insurance in the state. I think that policyholders are currently experiencing the effects of what’s happening right now in the marketplace, and I anticipate that if legislation is not passed this session that helps to address some of the factors … then we’re going to see the situation for policyholders continue to deteriorate and to become more dire.”
Florida Insurance Consumer Advocate Tasha Carter
“Carriers through the first three quarters of 2020 have an underwriting loss of over $1 billion dollars. When you look at the capital and surplus positions of our domestic carriers, they’ve so far been able to withstand a lot of those losses, but we don’t really see an end in sight to a lot of the trends that we’re currently seeing … If there’s no reform this year, we’ll probably see some market consolidations and some market exits. Our role as the regulators at that point would be to make sure that those things can take place with as minimal disruption to consumers as possible.”
Florida Insurance Commissioner David Altmaier
“Anyone who has been working in insurance and been in this industry for a while is not surprised at what is happening. For all of us local agents, our clients are our community members, our friends. We have been in business for 40-something years and we insure people’s children and grandchildren. It is very upsetting to talk to clients and tell them it’s a hard market and there’s not a lot of options out there, and it doesn’t change the fact they may not be able to afford the premium, especially seniors or fixed income individuals. It really hits them very hard.”
Agent Mary Katharine Lawler, Doug Croley Insurance Services, Tallahassee, Fla.
“The biggest takeaway is that agents really, in my opinion, at this point can’t stand by and just hope that the market’s going to get better. It’s on all of us to work together, both as an association, and our members, but the industry as a whole, to try to make for a better day for Florida’s consumers.”
Kyle Ulrich, president of Florida Association of Insurance Agents
“Florida Realtors is growing increasingly concerned about the cost drivers that are negatively impacting Florida’s insurance environment. Rising premiums, less availability and tightening underwriting guidelines jeopardize homeownership in the state and solutions are needed if we want to support Florida’s growing population. The 2021 legislative session presents a good opportunity for lawmakers to address these problems and we look forward to working with them to help present the realtor perspective on this issue.”
Cheryl Lambert, president of Florida Realtors
“We are struggling as much as anyone else when it comes to our carriers. We normally get calls from less then 5% of our customers each month on the residential side, now its probably upwards of 30% of customers at renewal time – it’s painful. Carriers are also cutting commission so it’s not just affecting clients.”
Agent Reid Rushing, Beck Partners in Pensacola, Fla.
“We are all suffering from problems in trying to place coverage with all of the restrictions, guideline changes. We encourage our clients whenever we get a renewal to take it.”
Agent John Pisula, C&C Insurance, Pembroke Pines, Fla.
“I think it’s beyond just urgent, it’s desperate, frankly. If you were to look at the rate increases that have been going in for the industry, there’s a reason for that and that reason is because all of these cases the lawsuits, the overinflation of claims have gotten totally out of hand. And so, the rates have to reflect that and the rates that you see are rates that are reflecting that. If there’s no change, I think you’re going to see rates continue to escalate.”
Roger Desjadon, president of Florida Property Casualty Association
“We are seeing 30%+ rate increases across both personal lines and commercial lines. Needless to say, either we call our insureds or they will call us once they receive their renewal offers. … Florida needs real reform. We have been trying to get our elected officials to pass good legislation for years. We have been telling them that if they do nothing, that this will happen. Rates will rise, markets will leave. We want our clients to have options. We don’t want them to have to pay more for less coverage.”
Agent Alicia Rosier Stevens, Rosier Insurance, Southwest Florida
“We have seen admitted markets shut down in our area of South Florida (Broward County). The age of the home was a big criterion and now it’s lack of availability, which is really sad. Our customers are very upset about it and we are hoping we get some relief from the legislature.”
Agent Randy Iten, Iten Agency, Davie, Fla.
“Being an independent agent is supposed to be an advantage for us because we can shop options but now we can’t move clients because of these underwriting requirements. They are stuck with whatever carrier they have and get stuck with this massive rate increase.”
Agent Richard Sinclair, Wells Insurance Agency, Macclenny, Fla.
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