More than 50,000 Florida policyholders will soon be looking for a new insurance carrier for their homeowners insurance. “The timing is not ideal, because hurricane season is right around the corner,” says Ellsworth Buck, Vice President of GreatFlorida Insurance, Florida’s top independent homeowners insurance agency.
Florida insurance regulators authorized the termination of thousands of policies of the following Florida-based insurers Universal Insurance of North America, Gulfstream Property & Casualty and Southern Fidelity. The Insurance Journal reports, “The regulator’s actions are the most recent indicators of Florida’s stressed insurance marketplace.”
The early cancellation and non-renewals of policies is, “an extraordinary statutory remedy reserved to address insurers which are or may be in hazardous financial condition,” the Florida Office of Insurance Regulation stated in the orders, which also require the insurers to take additional steps to remain solvent.
Cancellations and non-renewals are not limited. There are reports the cancellations and non-renewals will likely continue over the upcoming months. Additional insurance companies are trying to rid themselves of unprofitable policies to insure older homes that have not been upgraded to comply with current building codes.
“Extreme weather conditions, increased litigation and shady contracting practices are to blame for the suffering home insurance industry,” says Buck, with GreatFlorida Insurance, Florida’s largest independent homeowners insurance agency.
The Florida Office of Insurance Regulation urges customers who receive a cancellation or non-renewal notice to move quickly to secure coverage with another insurance company. Consumers who are uncertain if they are impacted are also encouraged to contact their agent immediately.
The rare move is expected to help bring stability to a stressed market. Unfortunately, the move will cause many homeowners to face higher insurance rates, with fewer options and less coverage.