The State backed insurance company for homeowners in Florida, Citizens Property Insurance, has decided to revoke the windstorm discounts of nearly 185,000 homes it has recently reinspected. The resulting premium increases are of around $598.00 per policy a year. According to sun-sentinel.com, this is up nearly $140.00 from when Citizen’s finished inspecting 29,966 homes and increased premiums for the those homes an average of $459.00 last July. In total, Citizens has revoked improper discounts from 74 percent of the almost 229,000 homes and condominium buildings it has inspected. According to Citizens, this has resulted in a premium increase of $137 million: $134 million for homeowners and $3.2 million from condominium buildings and businesses.
Florida Homeowners Insurance Market in Crisis
Given the number of people that live in coastal areas in the United States and thus, the potential for catastrophic damages, the homeowners insurance market is in crisis. In Florida, the crisis may be more severe than elsewhere: seventy-five percent of the population in our state lives in the 35 coastal counties. Given the accumulation of property value in these coastal areas and the expert consensus that another big storm is overdue, the homeowners insurance market is almost “uninsurable” already. In order to reduce their exposure to these potential catastrophic losses, most insurers have non renewed policies for properties within most of these coastal places.
Some have proposed the creation of the Florida Mutual Hurricane Fund. This fund would become the only source for windstorm insurance in the state, underwriting all the windstorm risk currently under the umbrella of Citizens and other smaller insurers. It would be a one peril state-owned “insurer” with no sales force, no federal taxes and no returns for investors. The Fund would be managed by Citizens and function in a way similar to the federal flood insurance program.
This idea, proposed by Senator Mike Fasano and others, is not unique: given the potential for catastrophic damage by flood, this kind of insurance is deemed uninsurable in the Netherlands. Consequently, under The Calamities Compensation Act, the Dutch government undertakes the payment of damages caused by floods. Considering that 70% of the Gross National Product of the Netherlands is produced below sea level (and thus, in peril of catastrophic losses should the dikes fail), it is not a bad idea to have such a “cushion” in place. Most of Florida’s GNP is earned in areas constantly threatened by hurricanes and about 90 percent of Floridians live within 10 miles of the coast.
We Can Help
You should always have an attorney help you review your policy and advise you on what coverage you should have and for how much. If you are about to renew your policy (with the same insurer or a new one), we can help you review it and make sure you are adequately covered and in a position to avoid costly expenses should disaster strike.
With more than 67 years of combined experience, the Miami Dade County Homeowners Insurance Claims Law Offices of Greenberg Stone and Urbano have helped thousands of Homeowners all over Florida review their policies, present their claims and get the compensation owed them by their insurance carrier.
Visit our website to learn more about our firm and contact us today for a free consultation.