TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) — Despite several insurance companies leaving Florida or canceling some policies, one insurance company said it’s not fleeing the state, but expanding instead.
It’s the state’s second biggest private provider.
According to the latest figures on the Florida Office of Insurance Regulation website, State Farm insures 576,847 homes in Florida.
A spokesman tells 8 On Your Side the company’s “plans include a commitment to responsible growth…”
Yes, growth. The statement is subtle, but significant.
For the first time since lawmakers passed sweeping insurer-friendly reforms last year, a major property insurance company is now promising to increase its footprint.
This news is likely a relief for Governor Ron DeSantis.
On Monday, Farmers Insurance said it would be pulling out of Florida. Tuesday, 8 On Your Side learned another was cancelling a ‘small number’ of policies.
Critics, including state Democrats, are calling on Gov. DeSantis to do more. State Sen. Tracie Davis said DeSantis should convene another special session to address the crisis.
“We need the governor to come back home,” she said.
The governor’s office told 8 On Your Side the changes “will be effective.”
“Even the most aggressive reforms… take time to affect the… industry,” spokesman Jeremy Redfern said.
On Wednesday, Gov. DeSantis appeared on the Howie Carr radio show.
“What is going on with the insurers pulling out of Florida?” Carr asked.
DeSantis praised the reforms. He said they’ll reduce frivolous lawsuits — the main driver behind spiking premiums.
“I think we had problems with our legal infrastructure that we have addressed,” DeSantis said.
“So, knock on wood, we won’t have a big storm this summer. Then I think you’re going to start to see companies see an advantage,” DeSantis said.
So, will more companies follow State Farm, increasing competition and driving down the price of your premium?
Time will tell.
There’s another sign that private insurance companies are investing in Florida, again.
8 On Your Side has learned they want to take over one in five policies held by the state’s insurer of last resort, Citizens Property Insurance. Currently, Citizens has 1.3 million policies.
But according to OIR, one in five, or 20%, could soon be back on the private market.
How does this compare to last year?
According to OIR, “the number of policies being requested in the first half of 2023 is more than the total number of policies requested in 2022.”
If you have a story, comment or tip, email Mahsa at MSaeidi@WFLA.com.