Worst Homeowners Insurance Companies In Florida - The best and worst Florida homeowner's insurance companies rated and reviewed by a Florida licensed public adjuster based on his personal experience dealing with these homeowner's insurance companies with property damage claims.
My ratings and opinions of these companies are based on my individual findings and dealings with these companies when handling a homeowners insurance claim. I rate these companies from A to F.
Worst Homeowners Insurance Companies In Florida
Additionally, I discuss why I rated these companies the way I did based on my experience.
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Let me give you some of the criteria I used to rank the best and worst homeowner insurance companies in Florida in no particular order:
Customer service Claims management Insurance Claims adjustment Knowledge and experience How quickly claims are paid Policy coverage How likely they are to settle a claim How likely they are to delay paying your claim or deny your claim
These are just some of the criteria I used to rate these companies. Watch the video below to understand better.
There are many home insurance companies in Florida that handle claims very differently than the rest of the country. Why? Because there are more claims in Florida than any other state, because there are more claims, I think they've established a whole different set of rules for homeowner's insurance claims in Florida. Sometimes you have very few choices about who you can get for your home insurance company, so even if you want to get insurance with FedNat, FedNat may not even write policies in your specific area.
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If you ever have questions about a claim or an insurance company, please don't hesitate to call me.
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In recent weeks, state regulators and Gov. Ron DeSantis' administration have scrambled to contain the fallout after the state's ratings agency, Ohio-based Demotech Inc., warned about two dozen insurance companies of write-offs, according to the status .
The downgrades would have caused a collapse in the state's housing market, a mainstay of Florida's $1.2 trillion economy. Without the ratings, a million Floridians could be left scrambling to find new insurance policies, potentially triggering a housing crisis in the middle of hurricane season and months before the November election.
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State regulators believe they have averted disaster, at least temporarily, but the episode has observers questioning how it was managed and how the state could become so dependent on a single company that few have heard of.
"If this was a movie title, it would be 'The Sum of All Fears,'" said Sen. Jeff Brandes, R-St. Petersburg, who has warned for years that the state of the property insurance market was headed for collapse.
The DeSantis administration has crafted a short-term solution to allow insurers to stay afloat by using state agencies to back them up. And it went after the ratings agency, Demotech, and its president and co-founder, Joe Petrelli, who called it a "rogue rating agency" and urged federal officials to ignore the company's actions.
The drama is just the latest problem as the state experiences its biggest insurance crisis since Hurricane Andrew in 1992.
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Over the past two years, more than 400,000 Floridians have had or failed to renew their policies. Fourteen companies have stopped writing new policies in Florida. In 2022 alone, five gave birth. The record, set after the devastation of Hurricane Andrew, is eight in one year.
The latest casualty was Coral Gables-based Weston Property & Casualty, which is leaving 22,000 policyholders, about 9,400 in South Florida, to find new insurance companies.
Costs have also skyrocketed. In 2019, when DeSantis was sworn in, Floridians paid an average premium of $1,988. This year, it's now $4,231, triple the national average, according to an analysis by the Insurance Information Institute.
In many ways, today's problems lie in the decisions lawmakers and regulators made after Andrew, experts say.
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The storm reshaped Florida's insurance landscape, forcing several companies to fold and others to flee the state. With homeowners struggling to find coverage, the legislature created the state-backed Residential Joint Underwriting Association, essentially a precursor to today's homeowners insurance, to insure homes that could not be covered by private companies.
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The program quickly became one of the state's largest insurers, and concerns grew that it was taking on too many risks. State officials offered incentives for the companies to take on their policies, and several new and small insurers approached.
However, the new insurers faced a problem: they could not obtain a financial stability rating from a qualified agency. Homeowners with mortgages guaranteed by the federal government, such as Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, need highly rated title insurance companies to protect them.
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State insurance and banking regulators, in addition to Fannie and Freddie, sought help from various rating agencies. Only Demotech was willing to rate the new insurers. The company, based in Columbus, Ohio, was founded in 1985 by Petrelli and his wife, Sharon Romano Petrelli. Its "A" rating was approved by both Fannie and Freddie.
Since then, Demotech has been the primary rating agency for Florida-based insurers, who dominate the Florida market and pay Demotech to rate their financial strength. While other rating agencies, such as New Jersey-based AM Best, offer ratings for some insurers, none have stepped in to compete with Demotech.
Without Demotech, Florida would not have an insurance market, said Kevin McCarty, the state's insurance commissioner from 2003 to 2016.
"Regardless of whether you agree with them, they provide an invaluable service to the state of Florida and the economy at large," McCarty said.
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Florida's reliance on smaller insurers has seen homeowners through a series of booms and busts since then.
Smaller insurers are mostly able to survive the Florida hurricanes because of reinsurance, basically insurance for insurance companies. When a storm hits, an insurer could be on the hook for a few million dollars, while the reinsurer pays the rest.
But smaller companies in particular are vulnerable to the rising cost of reinsurance. A series of storms in 2004 and 2005 wiped out several insurers and drove up the cost of reinsurance, putting companies in a bind. Several were left in crisis due to poor management or incompetence.
In recent years, insurers and state regulators have blamed excessive lawsuits for their problems, and Petrelli has been an outspoken critic of the Legislature's inaction to curb litigation.
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He cited statistics from the Florida Insurance Commissioner that from 2016 to 2019, Florida accounted for between 7.75% and 16% of the nation's homeowner claims, but between 64% and 76% of the nation's litigious homeowner claims. Critics say the insurers' problems are more complicated.
DeSantis called a special session of the Legislature in May to pass insurance reforms focused on stabilizing the market and reducing claims, but Petrelli said it wasn't enough.
On July 18 and 19, Demotech sent private notices to at least 17 Florida insurers, state officials say, nearly half of the companies it rates in Florida, warning that the insurance environment was worsening and that, without action corrective actions, the companies faced a qualification. downgrade (Demotech did not say how many companies received the notices).
A decline of this magnitude would create shock waves. Fannie and Freddie recover about 62 percent of all residential mortgages, according to the Florida Insurance Agents Association.
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Demotech's "A" rating and above, which indicates a 97% certainty that a company could pay all claims from a 1-in-130-year hurricane, is approved by Fannie and Freddie, while its "S," the next step down, isn't it.
A downgrade to an "A" rating would force owners to seek a new one
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