Friday, May 18, 2007

Property Insurance – Our Nemesis II

Unfortunately here, in the State of Florida, we have a couple of items that are creating havoc with our economy and even forcing some into foreclosure. But that is another story and those people need to take blame for getting into something that they shouldn’t have in the first place.

Anyway, back to property insurance. Here’s an example. I know some people in western Oregon. They have a home of about 4000sf on many acres with out buildings, etc. Their homeowners insurance runs them $1000 a year plus another $500 for earthquake insurance. I on the other hand have an approximately 1500sf home on about 1/3 or an acre and am paying approximately the same for my homeowners insurance.

I need to backtrack a little to a previous post where I wrote about insurance companies and actuaries & how they had to know what they were getting into and the rates that they have been charging. Well, I’ve come to learn a little more about the history of homeowners insurance in Florida.

Insurance companies competed by keeping their rates low & then came Hurricane Andrew. After that catastrophe, most had huge losses but 11 of them went bankrupt. So the remaining companies started raising rates to match their level of risk & cancelling policy renewals.

Then our government decided that we needed to do something about this and passed laws to keep our insurance rates down. And then, finally, they created Citizens Property Insurance. This was to be the insurer of last resort. Remember this as we come back to that in a little while.

Well, lo & behold, then came the hurricanes of ’04 & ’05. Unfortunately, this bankrupt some companies as well. Oh yes, I forgot to mention, one of those companies was Citizens Property Insurance. But, don’t worry, we got taxed to bail it out. It even states on everyone’s policies in the State of Florida something to the effect of “Citizens Property Insurance Assessment, Florida Catastrophe Fund Assessment, Citizen’s Recoupment Fee,” etc.

Now, our Governor is asking that these insurance companies pass the buck or I should say the bill along to their customers outside the state of Florida. Additionally, they are allowing Citizens to grow and they were allowing them to raise their rates as well, but then enacted legislation to freeze their rates. They were giving Citizens the go ahead to compete head on with other insurers so they were no longer the insurer of last resort, when you couldn’t find insurance elsewhere.

So now, Citizens has basically gone belly up twice and, as I’ve stated, we are paying for this. It may sound good that there is an insurer out there with affordable rates. But what’s ultimately going to happen is that they are going to grow into probably the largest insurer in the State of Florida and when another unfortunate catastrophe hits this state we are all going to be left with the bill. It’s just a matter of time before Citizens Property Insurance goes bankrupt again.

Citizens Property Insurance is a problem that needs to be addressed quickly!

Until next time – Marc It Sold!

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