Locals struggle to keep property insurance policies – InsuranceNewsNet | Business Insurance

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SEBRINGFlorida the property insurance market is in crisis, but you don’t have to say it highland county residents who.

Like other homeowners in the state, local homeowners are receiving cancellation notices from state insurance companies. Office of Insurance Regulation has declared insolvent.

Mark Friedlanderthe Florida analyst of the Insurance Information Institutesays Universal Property and Casualty, the largest private insurer in Floridahas just announced a moratorium on the writing of new businesses in several Florida counties due to market instability. In total, 13 home insurers in Florida they have stopped writing new businesses in parts or the entire state since January, he says.

It’s also no secret that carriers have paid billions of dollars to fight fraudulent and frivolous claims from roofing companies that have the owner’s permission to collect from insurance companies. Roofing companies have been knocking on doors and promising homeowners that they can get them a new roof for free, even when the roof has minor damage.

State property insurers paid $15 billion in claims, many of them fraudulent, between 2013 and 2020. A single attorney has filed 10,000 lawsuits against insurance companies in Floridasays the analyst.

And who pays the lawyers when insurance companies lose in court? Insurance companies, which kills your bottom line.

highland county residents who are without property insurance can go to the state Citizens Property Insurance Corporation (CPIC). Citizens Insurance is required to offer a choice to homeowners within 30 days, but the state agency is straining under the weight of homeowners seeking policies through it. The state agency says it is processing 30,000 new policies a month and will hit 1 million policyholders by January. Their systems can’t keep up.

Locals struggle to keep property insurance policies – InsuranceNewsNet | Business Insurance Allianz 728x90 2022 07

curtis slade of First Insurance of placid lake inc. says he’s listening to people whose insurance companies are in trouble.

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“We’ve gotten quite a few calls from new prospects due to some of the recent insolvency issues and have been successful in finding alternative coverage for them,” he says. “For many, Citizens is quickly becoming the only option available.”

Chapman Insurance Group is an agency that helps home and business owners find the right homeowners insurance with the right insurance company.

“We had five liquidations this year,” he says. Brian Chapman Jr.., who has a house in Lake Placid. “It’s miserable. State law gives us 30 days to replace that policy for the customer or they lose coverage on that policy. We do everything we can to find them a new company.”

megan peckoffice manager at Bi-Rite Affordable Insurance of Sebringhave seen the same trend in highland county.

“We tell people we’ll help them find a carrier, we shop with other carriers,” says Peck. “We can’t find a new carrier for maybe 1 percent of callers.”

Bi-Rite and other insurance companies have found a way to circumvent fraudulent roof replacement schemes by referring a trusted roofing inspector, says Peck. That way, homeowners don’t have to rely on a door-knocking roofing company to get an honest appraisal. It also protects insurance companies against fraudulent claims.

“It’s been happening, it’s definitely been happening, especially after the recent hail storm,” he says of roofing companies setting prices for new roofs. “Some people are older and can’t get on their roof, so they trust a stranger and go in blind.”

so peck and other insurance company managers suggest letting the insurance company inspect the roof.

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“We have an inspector that we prefer, also for our clients, and he made us a deal if they wanted him to come in for a special inspection for a small fee. So they were also able to get a legitimate opinion that we trust.” .”

There is relief, however, in the new property insurance law that went into effect 1st of July. He took a special legislative session to write it.

The Legislature fiance $2 billion of reinsurance coverage at no cost to insurers. Known as the Reinsurance Aid to Policyholders Program (RAP), it encourages insurers to enable them to pay claims. In exchange, insurers must reduce rates to policyholders.

The new law also prohibits contractors from enticing a homeowner to file a property insurance claim for roof damage, unless they also notify the homeowner of their rights.

According to Peck, the new bill helps protect homeowners from carriers calling them off because their roofs are too old. The new rule: Homeowners can’t be foreclosed on when a roof is less than 15 years old or when an older roof is still in good condition.

“Insurance companies wouldn’t renew homeowners policies when the roofs reached a certain age,” says Peck. “They put a limit on that.”

Slade also likes the rule about life on the roof.

“It’s nice that policyholders have the opportunity to provide a ‘roof life certification’ to their insurance companies for roofs that are over 15 years old. I think there is potential for SB 2D to help many of the issues that have become prevalent in recent years,” Slade said, “but it will take time to see the full effects.

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