Florida Property Insurers to Raise Rates
A vast number of property insurance providers in Florida have submitted legal requests to allow a double-digit rate increase which could reach 47%. The predicted downgrading in the financial ratings of some companies has sparked concerns leading to this request. As the State legislature gets ready to end current sessions, lawmakers are scurrying to have the reforms litigation passed. Contingency risk multipliers, which boost lawyer fees, would be targeted through bill HB 7071, which passed the House but was stalled in the Senate. According to a report in the Insurance Journal, many insurance providers in Florida may experience reductions in their financial ratings because of the ongoing struggles by companies when dealing with claims protocols and court rulings that differ from all other jurisdictions nationwide. As Joseph Petrelli stated to the Florida Record, “I don’t see downgrades or the litigation necessarily taking companies under. But what I do see in the level of litigation and types of (court) decisions that we’ve seen in the last six or seven years in Florida is the difference between ultimately for the companies being profitable and being unprofitable. But I don’t think it’s going to tank companies.” With the current financial scenario bleak for companies and their profit margins over the coming years, downgrades may not jeopardize their overall results. According to Petrelli, property owners may see a decrease in insurance options, but doubts Florida insurers will fail, with mergers and consolidations likely. He also states that short term rate increases will be large and benefit Florida insurers by giving them an improved foothold on Florida’s complicated situation when dealing with claims. According to Petrelli, insurance providers are in good shape and will be able to pay claims brought on by property owners.