Insurance policies

Locals struggle to keep property insurance policies – InsuranceNewsNet

SEBRINGflorida the property insurance market is in crisis, but you don’t have to say it Highland County residents who.

Like other landowners in the state, local landlords receive cancellation notices from state insurance companies. Insurance Regulatory Office declared insolvent.

Marc Friedlanderthe Florida analyst for the Insurance Information Institutesays Universal Property and Casualty, the largest private insurer in Floridahas just announced a moratorium on the subscription of new contracts in several Florida counties due to market instability. A total of 13 home insurers in Florida have stopped writing new business either side or statewide since January, he said.

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

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

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

Highland County residents who find themselves without home insurance can contact the State Citizens Property Insurance Corporation (CPIC). Citizens Insurance is required to offer homeowners an option within 30 days, but the state agency is under the brunt of homeowners seeking policies through them. The state agency says it processes 30,000 new policies a month and will reach one million policyholders by January. His systems can’t keep up.

Curtis Slade of First insurance of Lac Placid Inc. says he hears from people whose insurers are struggling.

“We have had a number of calls from new prospects due to some of the recent insolvency issues and have been successful in finding alternative cover for them,” he said. “For many, Citizens is quickly becoming the only option available.”

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

“We’ve had five in liquidation this year,” says Brian Chapman Jr.., who has a home in Lake Placid. “It’s miserable. State law gives us 30 days to replace this policy for the customer or they lose coverage under this policy. We’re doing our best to find a new carrier for them.”

Megan Peckoffice manager at Bi-Rite Insurance Budget of Sebringexperienced the same trend in Highland County.

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

Bi-Rite and other insurance companies have found a way around fraudulent roof replacement schemes by recommending a roof inspector they trust, Peck says. This way, homeowners don’t have to rely on a roofing company knocking on doors for an honest appraisal. It also protects insurance companies against fraudulent claims.

“It’s happening, it’s definitely happening, especially after the recent hailstorm,” she says of roofing companies pricing new roofs. “Some people are old and can’t get on their roof, so they hand over a stranger and walk in there blind.”

So peck and other insurance company directors suggest letting the insurance company inspect the roof.

“We have a favorite inspector, for our customers too, and he made us a deal if they wanted him to come and do a special inspection for a small fee. So they were able to get a legitimate opinion in which we have also trust.”

There is relief, however, in the new property insurance law which has come into force. July, 1st. It took a special legislative session to write it.

The Legislature promised $2 billion reinsurance coverage at no cost to insurers. Known as the Reinsurance to Assist Policyholders (RAP) program, it helps insurers pay claims. In return, carriers must reduce rates for policyholders.

The new law also prohibits contractors from misleading a homeowner for the purpose of making a property insurance claim for roof damage unless they also inform the homeowner of their rights.

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

“Insurance companies weren’t renewing homeowners’ policies when the roofs reached a certain age,” says Peck. “They put a cap on it.”

Slade also likes the roof life rule.

“It’s nice that policyholders have the ability to provide a ‘useful life certification’ to their insurance companies for roofs over 15 years old. I think SB 2D has the potential to help a lot of issues that have become common over the past few years,” Slade said, “but it will take time to see the full effects.”