As options continue to become scarcer in the Sunshine State, one of Florida’s top house insurers is quitting the market, leaving thousands of homeowners scurrying to find new coverage.
Florida homeowners scurry as another major insurer leaves creating an existential crisis
The St. Petersburg-based United Property & Casualty Insurance Company revealed on Thursday that it has filed a plan of withdrawal in Florida and that it also intends to leave three other states. It coincides with a mass departure of businesses from the market and the height of hurricane season.
The current scenario with UPC, according to Mark Friedlander, the Insurance Information Institute’s Florida representative, is another chapter in the demise of Florida’s private insurance sector. According to Friedlander, nearly every homeowner in Florida will be affected, either scrambling to obtain coverage or paying extra for what they already have.
Friedlander called Florida’s property insurance market the “most volatile in the U.S.” Florida’s insurance industry, according to Dustyn Shroff of Coconut Creek Insurance, has “collapsed.” Citizens Insurance, the last-resort provider, was not intended to handle this many policies, according to Shroff.
We learn about these cancellations at the same time as the homeowner, as a neighborhood insurance agent. In 2019, Dr. Allen Lavina and his wife bought a house in Sunrise. The first-time homebuyers were successful in getting insurance and paying their mortgage on time.
But the pair just received word from their insurance provider that “we’re lowering exposure in the area.” Lavina stated, “We had plenty of time to locate alternative insurance, but they won’t cover us since our roof is too old. We entered into a contract to have our roof installed, but we were informed that “materials are delayed” and that it would take months to complete.
We currently have hazard insurance with our mortgage, which is regrettably not ideal given our current limited income. For Floridians dumped by their homeowner’s insurance, David Quinones founded a Facebook page. Its name is Florida Forced Out.
In response to the Citizens’ arbitrary rule they implemented in February banning new policies if the residence has ever had more than two non-weather-related water claims, Quinones said, “I’ve been dropped by my home’s insurance with effect from July and was also refused by Citizens.” We are effectively shut out of the market, and both our mortgage and our house are in jeopardy. According to Friedlander, the situation is not being caused by Florida’s increased hurricane danger.
He stated, “We look down the road in Louisiana and see they’ve had seven storms hit the state in the last several years, Florida hasn’t had any direct strikes.” “Therefore, storms are not to blame. This situation is entirely man-made and has been caused by years of widespread risk replacement fraud schemes and excessive lawsuits brought against insurers.
Friedlander focused on fraudulent roof repair. He asserted that the numerous lawsuits being brought against Florida property insurers are being stoked by “roof repair scam schemes.” After a hurricane, Local 10 News offers advice on how to scam-proof your property. Friedlander claimed that at the special session on property insurance reform held in May of last year, the legislature did not address the problems of fraud and litigation.
Homeowners argued that the state should take more action. Quinones declared, “Even if they try to patch it up with some Band-Aids or patches, we still have an existential problem. How are we going to live in Florida, for example? Neal Bloom, a homeowner, too voiced his dissatisfaction with the government’s response.
Bloom added, “I’m really upset that the Florida government won’t acknowledge the situation or take any action to provide relief. “I emailed my congressman, but none of his responses were what I was hoping to hear. We pay our payments on time, have a small mortgage on our house, and have excellent credit.
Therefore, I believe it is unfair that those in our circumstance are punished because others choose to submit false claims for brand-new roofs from earlier hurricanes, which is the justification I’m hearing for why we were dropped without warning. Bloom’s premium increased by more over $1,000 annually when he recently had to rejoin the Citizens pool after his carrier dropped him.
He claimed that in order to pass the company’s mandatory inspection, he ultimately had to spend thousands of dollars. Like Lavina, some people are considering leaving the Sunshine State as a result of the situation. Lavina stated, “My wife and I are debating whether or not to remain in Florida.”
Don’t anticipate a turnaround in the near future, according to Friedlander. He stated, “At this point, we’re not seeing any signs of stability and regrettably, we expect to see deterioration in the Florida insurance market over the rest of the year.” Insolvencies among insurers and market exits In 2022, a number of house insurers filed for bankruptcy, according to Friedlander. He gave a list of businesses that had either filed for bankruptcy or left the market.
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