As residents of the state of Florida are probably all too aware, hurricanes can be disastrous and inflict great amounts of property damage. As a result, homeowners throughout the state purchase home insurance designed to cover them should a major hurricane hit the state. In addition to high winds, flooding could also inflict damage upon commercial and residential property.
A current trend in the state involves residents of the state purchasing policies from small in-state insurance companies. These companies are filling the holes left behind when major national carriers left the market after taking a beating from the major hurricanes that occurred in 1992 and the mid-2000s. While this is undoubtedly good for the state’s economy in the short term, not all are convinced it is a good course of action in the long run. Specifically, those concerned about the trend cite the concern that the businesses will not be able to handle another major hurricane.
There is some information to back this up. For example, since 2006, a total of 11 such insurance companies have failed. This is despite the lack of a major storm which often drives up claims. In addition, Weiss Ratings, a consumer-oriented rating agency, awarded 48 insurance companies a median grade of C-minus. Nineteen of those received ratings of D-plus or worse.
Supports disagree with the analysis of Weiss Ratings and point out that the in-state insurance companies have received higher ratings from other agencies. The president of the Insurance Information Institute asserts that “there’s clearly an appetite for this new risk.” In addition, he pointed out that the companies being rated all meet state regulations.
Regardless of which insurance company you buy a policy from to cover your home or commercial building, there is a possibility that you will disagree with a claims decision that the business makes. In those situations working with a lawyer is often advisable.
Source: The Chicago Tribune, “Florida’s new insurance sector may be ‘accident waiting to happen’,” Barbara Liston, Sept. 11, 2014
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