TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) — Florida’s property insurance crisis just claimed another company.
In just a few months, United Property & Casualty Insurance plans to end business in the Sunshine State.
The company is responsible for more than 140,000 insurance policies in Florida, according to numbers from November. So, what’s in store for those homeowners now?
8 On Your Side Investigator Mahsa Saeidi has been looking at the impact the property insurance crisis has had on Florida families.
Homeowners in Tampa Bay and across the state have seen their insurance rates skyrocket, and the special session in May did not lower costs.
Now, Gov. Ron DeSantis and lawmakers are trying again with a second special session to address the crisis set to begin on Monday.
We’re told DeSantis wants lawmakers to reduce the number of lawsuits and ensure the market is “both attractive to insurers and more competitive for consumers.”
“Do you think that under Speaker Renner’s leadership they’re going to actually do something that fixes this?” 8 On Your Side Investigator Mahsa Saeidi asked Pinellas County’s former state senator, Jeff Brandes, who spearheaded the push to convene the first special session in 2022.
“They don’t have a choice. This has become the number one pocketbook issue in the state and it’s only getting worse,” Brandes said.
Now, Brandes is advocating for bolder reforms.
“It is the Achilles heel of the Florida real estate market and we are potentially going to gut the middle class in this state,” said Brandes. “They’re going to be paying more on their property insurance than they are on their mortgage.”
And for the 140,000 plus homeowners—they’ll have to find new insurance soon.
All policies by United P&C will be cancelled by May 31, 2023, according to an Office of Insurance Regulation order. State regulators say all unearned premiums will be returned by the next day, June 1.
United P&C is the seventh insurance company to exit Florida this year.
Brandes says their exit means thousands more will be forced into Citizens Property Insurance, the the state-created insurer of last resort.
“Citizens property insurance state-wide is 30% cheaper than the market and in Tampa Bay, they’re 50% below the market,” Brandes said. “What that means is their rates are not reflective of the risk that they’re actually taking on.”
If you would like to share how this crisis is impacting you, please send Mahsa an email at MSaeidi@WFLA.com