property insurance

Pasco County woman sees 55% jump in car insurance rate: ‘I went into complete shock’

TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) — From the grocery store to your rent or mortgage, it seems price increases are hitting everyone from every direction.

And now, here’s a new one that’s sucker-punching Florida drivers: Astronomical increases in car insurance rates.

8 On Your Side Investigator Mahsa Saeidi has been digging into what’s behind these increases.

We’ve seen such turmoil in the property insurance market. Of course, that has a direct impact on Tampa Bay homeowners. But car insurance has a direct impact on almost every single one of us.

Despite having no accidents, no tickets and no changes, one family in Pasco County saw their bill spike 55 percent.

“I went into complete shock,” said Pat Parlee. “I mean who can afford that type of increase.”

Starting next week, to insure two cars, Pat will be paying $115 more each month.

The cost of renewing her auto insurance went up 55%, going from over $1,200 to roughly $1,900—and that just covers half the year.

Pat’s been with her insurer, United Services Automobile Association or USAA for decades.

“After the shock wore off, I said what is going on that’s causing this,” said Pat, “I couldn’t get a straight answer on if there’s any types of caps on how much your auto insurance can increase.”

“So, that’s why I reached out to you because you’ve been so involved in everything with the insurance.”

8 On Your Side contacted the Florida Office of Insurance Regulation and found, for USAA, the state’s new insurance Commissioner Michael Yaworsky approved, on average, a 20% rate hike, statewide.

The rate hike impacts customers differently, according to insurance experts.

In a statement, USAA says “the price of goods and services has increased significantly” and “USAA has

Read the rest

Homeowners fed up with property insurance rates continuously sky-rocketing

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Dozens of Florida homeowners insured by Citizens Property Insurance are complaining about the abrupt price hike in their property insurance.

The homeowner’s insurance industry is in crisis in Florida. More and more homeowners are getting dropped by their insurance companies, forcing them to pay for Citizens Property Insurance.

In just one year, the policy count for the state-backed insurance company has grown from 750,000 policies to more than 1.5 million Florida homeowners, and the increased number of Citizen’s policyholders has caused some insurance premiums to double.

Insurance Agent Sean Way told News4JAX there’s an increased demand for policies from Citizens insurance following the damage from Hurricane Ian in Central Florida in 2022. Way said several insurance carriers stopped offering coverage for certain zip codes that experienced historic damage during the storm.

“Our homeowner’s insurance increased $3,500 since last year. I want to know why it increases greatly each year with no claims,” one Insider shared with News4JAX.

Way said while homeowners are seeing exponential price hikes for their policies, insurance companies are seeing positive effects from new insurance regulations passed during a special session.

“The effects that the legislation has had for our carrier partners are from the standpoint of getting away with one-way attorney fees, where the carriers were responsible for paying those fees. It has put the carriers in a position where they’re opening up more capacity,” Way said. “And when we say that, that means they’re writing in areas that they wouldn’t have written before, for various underwriting reasons. In time, the legislation should have a positive impact on our industry and our citizens of the state of Florida.”

Insurance agents said that property insurance relief would not happen anytime soon because of potential natural disasters this year. On the other hand, if Florida

Read the rest

Florida lawmakers property insurance reforms have not brought relief

Over the past year, state lawmakers have made changes on paper through several attempts to cure Florida’s property insurance crisis. But a homeowner in Florida who opens their annual renewal and sees their premium has increased, or finds out their carrier has suddenly dropped them, may not have noticed anything different.

That was the expectation, after all.

State Sen. Jim Boyd, R-Bradenton, noted during the first of last year’s special sessions to address insurance that relief from any measures taken by lawmakers wouldn’t be realized for at least another 18 months. That session took place in May 2022.

Since then, two hurricanes hit the state. Lawmakers then held a second special session on insurance in December. Six property insurance companies were declared insolvent last year. Citizens Property Insurance Corp., the state-run “insurer of last resort,” continues to grow with more than 1 million policies.

More:Hurricane Ian is gone. Before the next storm, here are tips on how to review your insurance policy

More:The property insurance market was melting down. Then Hurricane Ian flooded Southwest Florida

And now the annual, 60-day regular legislative session is underway. The session is largely where party-line battles are taking center stage, but not insurance. And those homeowners with delayed or unfulfilled property damage claims may find their legal recourses slashed, owing to legislation approved in the special sessions to limit what the insurance industry and lawmakers said was too much litigation over property insurance claims and disputes between homeowners and their insurers.

The story remains the same as it was a year ago: it’s lawyers, contractors and public adjusters versus lawmakers and insurance companies.

Some have lauded the measures passed in Tallahassee as necessary to lure insurance carriers back to the state and target the cause of the crisis, so-called “frivolous lawsuits.” But

Read the rest

Special session on insurance back in play | Local Politics

The Legislature will likely hold a special session next month to address Louisiana’s property insurance crisis, Senate President Page Cortez said Saturday.

State leaders are grappling with how to get property insurers into the state and reverse the trend of firms fleeing or going out of business after multiple hurricanes hit in recent years.

Cortez, a Lafayette Republican, said he plans to meet with Gov. John Bel Edwards, possibly Wednesday, to finalize plans on the need for a session and when it would happen.

“I don’t think any of us have a different solution,” he said.

The Senate leader also said he thought it could be finished ahead of Mardi Gras — a vacation and celebration time statewide — since the meetings would likely be limited.

“I think the idea is it is really one appropriation bill,” Cortez said.

The session may take place in early February and the aim would be to limit it to about five days.

Another factor is the Washington DC Mardi Gras, which takes place at the end of January and attracts a large number of state politicians.

Edwards’ office did not respond to a request for comment.

The 2023 regular legislative session starts on April 10.

State Insurance Commissioner Jim Donelon has been pressing for a special session since late last year.

Donelon, a former House member, said he wanted to re-launch an incentive program to lure property insurers into the state. The move is also aimed at reducing the rolls of the hard-pressed Louisiana Citizens Property Insurance Corp., the state-run insurer of last resort.

Those policyholders are facing huge rate hikes.

A similar plan was started after Hurricane Katrina hit in 2005.

But in December, Cortez and other state leaders, including Edwards, were unenthusiastic about a special session and said the issue could

Read the rest

‘Hope’ won’t fix Florida’s property insurance crisis

The Florida Senate, shown here, participated in a special session that failed to address consumer concerns amid the ongoing <a href=property insurance crisis.” src=”–/YXBwaWQ9aGlnaGxhbmRlcjt3PTcwNTtoPTQ3MA–/″/

The Florida Senate, shown here, participated in a special session that failed to address consumer concerns amid the ongoing property insurance crisis.

(CORRECTION: An earlier version of this editorial stated incorrectly that policyholders will have less time to file claims. As the Insurance Institute notes, however, “the change from 90 days to 60 days applies to insurers being required to respond to a filed property claim .It is not the deadline for consumers to file a claim.The filing deadline for an initial hurricane claim is one year after the storm makes landfall, with up to 18 months after landfall to make amendments to the filing.”)

If you thought the original was disappointing, the sequel provides more of the same. Last week’s special session of the Florida Legislature marked the second attempt this year by Gov. Ron DeSantis and state lawmakers to address the property insurance crisis. The first one produced changes that favored the insurance industry; this one’s no different.

What came out of last week’s three-day special session were bills that continued to put the burden of propping up a faltering industry that is key to the state’s all-important real estate market squarely on the backs of homeowners. Floridians already pay an average of $4,231, up from $1,988 in 2019, according to an Insurance Information Institute analysis. That price will probably continue to grow, despite the new legislative fix.

Florida lawmakers ended the second of two special sessions to address property insurance.

Florida lawmakers ended the second of two special sessions to address property insurance.

Private insurance firms will receive $1 billion from state coffers to cover the reinsurance they buy as a backstop to help pay claims. Policyholders will find it

Read the rest

Altmaier steps down as Florida’s insurance commissioner

David Altmaier answers a question during the Committee on Banking and Insurance meeting Monday at the Capitol in Tallahassee.  Altmaier on Thursday submitted his resignation as Florida Insurance Commissioner to Gov.  Ron DeSantis.

David Altmaier answers a question during the Committee on Banking and Insurance meeting Monday at the Capitol in Tallahassee. Altmaier on Thursday submitted his resignation as Florida Insurance Commissioner to Gov. Ron DeSantis.

TALLAHASSEE — After lawmakers this week passed an overhaul of the state’s property-insurance system, Florida Insurance Commissioner David Altmaier on Thursday submitted his resignation to Gov. Ron DeSantis.

Altmaier, who made the resignation effective Dec. 28, has been Florida’s top insurance regulator since 2016. The letter did not detail his future plans.

“Under your leadership, we have worked with the Florida Legislature to meet historic challenges with historic reforms, we have come together to respond to catastrophes, and we’ve implemented rules and regulations that have safe guarded Florida’s insurance consumers while keeping our insurance markets viable ,” Altmaier wrote in the letter to DeSantis.

Altmaier has been in the post as the state has faced major troubles in the property-insurance industry. Insurers over the past two years have dropped hundreds of thousands of policies and received approval of large rate increases because of financial losses. Six insurers have been deemed insolvent this year.

During a special legislative session this week, Altmaier backed a bill (SB 2-A) that would make major changes in the system. Those changes include trying to reduce lawsuits against insurers and spending $1 billion in tax dollars to help provide critical reinsurance to carriers.

DeSantis was expected to sign the bill, which received final approval Wednesday from the House.

Some lawmakers have been critical of the Office of Insurance Regulation’s oversight of the industry and questioned Altmaier this week about issues such as providing data and monitoring insurance companies.

“What do you think will be announced first: The next insurance company leaves Florida’s collapsing market or his new high paying job in the insurance

Read the rest

DeSantis signs a bill seeking to stabilize the insurance market

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. — Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis signed a sweeping property insurance bill on Friday. How much and when will it work to stabilize the stormy market is another question.

One of the key goals of the legislation is to keep the claims process from ending up being settled in courtrooms, a problem that DeSantis said drives up legal costs for insurers.

“This bill reins in the incentive to litigate,” DeSantis said before signing the bill in Fort Myers, an area devastated by Hurricane Ian in September. “This is going to make a huge, huge difference.”

Florida has struggled to keep the insurance market healthy since 1992 when Hurricane Andrew flattened Homestead, wiped out some insurance carriers and left many remaining companies afraid to write or renew policies in Florida. Risks for carriers have also been growing as climate change increases the strength of hurricanes and the intensity of rainstorms.

But beyond being prone to hurricanes, DeSantis said Florida needs to reduce legal costs for insurers.

“Florida’s property insurance market was very good for lawyers. very good. It’s made a lot of people very, very rich. But the question is, is it in your best interest to have a situation like that? And I don’t think it is,” DeSantis said.

The bill new law will create a $1 billion reinsurance fund, put disincentives in place to prevent frivolous lawsuits and force some customers to leave a state-created insurer of last resort, Citizens Property insurance, for a private insurer, even if the policy costs more . It will also set more stringent deadlines throughout the claims process to try to insure homeowners don’t face coverage delays.

Mimi Bright of Parkland said she wasn’t expecting relief for policyholders any time soon, but she’s glad that lawmakers are addressing the subject.


Read the rest

Louisiana lawmakers punt on insurance incentives for now | News

Insurance Commissioner Jim Donelon’s request to fast-track funding for an incentive program was rebuffed by state lawmakers this week, leaving the effort in limbo until the next legislative session starts in April.

Donelon had urged lawmakers to allow him to use $15 million in leftover premium tax revenue that the insurance department collects to kickstart the Insure Louisiana Incentive Program. The effort was first launched in the years after Hurricane Katrina to lure property insurers to the state and get them off the rolls of Louisiana Citizens Property Insurance Co., the state-run insurer of last resort.

Donelon warned earlier this week that if Citizens didn’t begin to trim its swollen roster of policyholders – which now stands at 129,000 – it would be forced to spend big on reinsurance in the spring when those contracts were generally negotiated.

State lawmakers agreed to revive the incentive program earlier this year but left it unfunded.

Since the Louisiana Department of Insurance collects more than $1 billion each year from premium taxes to fund its operations, Donelon wanted to use the leftover revenue that is normally returned to the state’s general fund to pay for the incentives.

But lawmakers at the Revenue Estimating Conference, which met Thursday, were skeptical of his preferred approach. They suggested that Donelon faced more hurdles to restarting the program beyond the funding.

“We’re generally hesitant in government to put the cart in front of the horse,” said Senate President Page Cortez, R-Lafayette. “It’s always better to make sure you have everything laid out and then you fund it.”

Cortez said the state was in a good position to fund the incentive program, but noted that the rules that would govern it had not yet been approved.

“Remember there’s an oversight by the Legislature in the rulemaking process, which

Read the rest

Legislators to address property insurance, tax relief, financial assistance in a special session next week

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – The Florida Legislature will hold a special session on Monday to tackle property insurance issues in the state.

State officials could take some major steps in stabilizing the insurance market following this session. However, it isn’t an easy problem to fix, especially since two hurricanes hit the state and caused significant damage.

Local residents have explained their property insurance rates have skyrocketed

“My property insurance went up 30%,” one News4JAX reader commented.

Another said their insurance doubled in 2021.

With the session, lawmakers plan to address reducing litigation costs, fostering reinsurance, improving claims, increasing oversight of property insurance market participants and more. The session will also discuss tax relief and financial assistance for Hurricane Ian and Hurricane Nicole-related damages.

Lawmakers will also look to create a statewide toll credit program for frequent Florida drivers as well.

A special session was held back in May to try to address the insurance market, but not much was accomplished.

Even after next week’s special session, it’s likely residents won’t see immediate relief.

The Office of Insurance Regulations established a temporary market stabilization arrangement in July through Citizens Property Insurance or Citizens.

As of September, Citizen, which is a state-created insurer, had over a million policies.

News4JAX also learned that policies under United Property and Casualty Insurance will be canceled by May 2023, making them the seventh company to leave the state, which could push their policyholders to Citizens.

The proclamation says it will try to improve the financial stability of Citizens, reduce assessments with the company, and foster a transition of Citizens’ policies to the private property insurance market.

Copyright 2022 by WJXT News4JAX – All rights reserved.… Read the rest

Another insurance special session. What now?

As of 4 pm Friday, no bills had yet been posted on the Florida Legislature’s website for the special session on property insurance. The scheduled week-long session starts Monday.

This is not good government. Floridians shouldn’t expect dramatic relief from whatever legislators pass. We all know better because we’ve seen this movie before.

Seven months ago, legislators met in a special session to update the insurance legislation they had passed two years ago. Back in May, everyone agreed that even in a best case scenario, homeowner premiums would not drop. But if hurricane season wasn’t too bad, perhaps they wouldn’t go up too much in 2023.

Instead, we got the devastation of Ian and Nicole. Insured losses just from Ian could hit $50 billion, though some of that will be from flood damage, which falls under a federal program.

If Florida had a property insurance crisis before Ian and Nicole, it got worse. Twelve more companies have stopped writing policies. The state’s $13 billion reinsurance fund, a subsidy to help carriers pay claims in bad years, will take a financial hit. All policyholders will pay to replenish it.

This crisis threatens the state’s real estate market. It puts Floridians at risk of being unable to rebuild after a storm because their damages exceed what companies will pay.

Given the complexity of insurance, a functioning Legislature would start by getting the most reliable information possible about the problem. That would start with extensive committee hearings well before the regular session and continue with as much debate as possible.

Instead, legislators will have the weekend, maybe, to read long, detailed bills and prepare for floor debate as early as Tuesday. As state Rep. Kelly Skidmore, D-Boca Raton, told the Sun Sentinel Editorial Board, “We will get a baked pie. Then we decide

Read the rest