JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Hurricane Ian is threatening to further destabilize Florida’s home insurance market.
Six insurance companies have now gone out of business since 2017, and more are in the process of liquidation.
The bad news for consumers, is that depending on the extent of the damage, your home insurance policy price could rise once again.
Even though Hurricane Ian’s eyewall is only pummeling a portion of the state’s west coast, the impact could very well be a direct hit for every Florida homeowner with an insurance policy. If the damage from Hurricane Ian is extensive, which forecasters, predict it will likely be, the result could be more sticker shock, for homeowners when they get their next annual bill.
“More than likely, they’re going to be some rate increases to our insurance premiums. As independent agents, we do have multiple markets, which we are able to shop for coverage,” said We Insure agent Sean Way.
Way says some insurance companies may experience additional challenges trying to stay afloat once the damage estimates are added up when Hurricane Ian is gone.
“Well, insurance is like any other business where you have costs, unexpected costs, such as a storm, you’re going to have to raise your rates to stay in business stay profitable and be there for the next storm,” Way said.
Six companies have now gone out of business since 2017 without responding to a hurricane, and four more are in the process of liquidation, according to consumer financial services company Bankrate. The Office of Insurance Regulation has another dozen companies on its watch list. Chief Financial Officer Jimmy Patronis is remaining optimistic that recent insurance regulation changes will help to stabilize Ian’s impact.
“The state of Florida right now is the best it’s ever been financially,” Patronis said. “We have $20 billion in reserves, a state guarantee fund that’s there to help if there is insolvency, and we’ve created a unique relationship with Citizens insurance as another backstop, so there are a number of solutions for those carriers doing business in the state of Florida, but we can always improve the environment.”
If your home is damaged by wind, insurance agents say, document the damage immediately after the storm passes with pictures and photos and contact your insurance agent. They warn homeowners to be wary of roofers knocking on your door after the storm passes, because of the massive amounts of fraud in the insurance industry.