Why Hurricane Ida damage might spike insurance rates in Florida, too

Local expert explains why storm that didn’t hit Sunshine State might affect your budget anyway

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Hurricane Ida could become one of the top 10 costliest hurricanes in American history, and even though the storm didn’t hit the Sunshine State, Florida residents might end up paying for it.

Insurance agents are warning homeowners of potential rate increases after the powerful Category 4 hurricane caused more than $40 billion in wind and flood damage.

Brightway Insurance Agent Matt Carlucci Jr. said it has everything to do with the cost of reinsurance, which is your insurance agency’s protection policy in case of catastrophic loss.

“The reinsurance companies charge a premium on the amount of catastrophes in that area, and other areas because they write reinsurance all over the world, so, frankly, even a catastrophe in Asia or Europe could cause insurance rates to rise here in Florida,” Carlucci explained.

The potential spike comes at a time when home insurance rates are already high. Over the past year, insurers have been raising rates as high as 40%. Homeowners who have already been experiencing sticker shock may experience premium hikes once again.

“Honestly, commercial properties, condos, renters, they’re really not going to see much of an impact because hurricanes like Ida, it’s really the homeowners, the ones who own your townhome or single family dwelling, the insurance on that property is going to get hit the hardest,” Carlucci explained.

Insurance experts say it’s hard to predict just how much of an increase homeowners can expect, pointing out that roofing fraud is the No. 1 reason for home insurance rate increases in Florida.

If your rate does increase, Carlucci warns against switching providers immediately. Instead, he advises that you consult your home insurance agent.

“If you’re with a carrier that has an AM Best rating, I would tell you to stay put, talk to your agent. If the rate goes up really high, talk to your agent and say, ‘Hey, is there a better option for me with a company which has the same rating and provides the same level of claim service?’ If the answer is no, pay your premium,” Carlucci said.

Carlucci said if you do decide to switch providers, they’ll need to underwrite your home and conduct an inspection of your roof.

If your new provider decides that you need to repair damage to your existing roof before they insure you, it may cost you just as much in repairs as your increased premium would cost.

About the Author:

Tarik anchors the 4, 5:30 and 6:30 p.m. weekday newscasts and reports with the I-TEAM.