3 insurance companies stop or limit writing new business in Florida

TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) — Hurricane season is on the way and right now, some Tampa Bay area homeowners are about to find out their property insurance is about to be canceled.

There are signs that Florida’s new property insurance laws have not calmed the troubled market.

New laws were passed in a special legislative session in Tallahassee, called specifically to deal with this crisis.

Now, three insurance companies are suspending or limiting new business in the state.  What’s worse: one is also suspending renewals, putting policyholders in a tough spot.

At the special session in Tallahassee last week, lawmakers told 8 On Your Side that while property insurance reforms on the table were a step in the right direction, they don’t go far enough.

“Do you anticipate we could be back here soon?” asked 8OYS investigator Mahsa Saeidi.

“I do,” said State Sen. Jeff Brandes, a Republican from St. Petersburg.

“We did not do enough to address this crisis, ” said State Rep. Andrew Learned, a Democrat representing Hillsborough County.

“In a couple of weeks more insurance companies are going to fail when the reinsurance rates kick in because this bill did not do enough to get to the root of the problem.”

On Thursday, Governor Ron DeSantis signed the reforms into law.

That very day, Southern Fidelity Insurance Company notified agents that they were “suspending new business and renewals”…until they can “assure complete reinsurance coverage.”

Starting tomorrow, ASI/Progressive is suspending new business in six central and south Florida counties.

People’s Trust Insurance Company is suspending new business across the state, according to a filing with the Florida Office of Insurance Regulation.

Insurance broker Ronald Assise, a partner at The Horton Group, is closely tracking the market.

“The question is how many more carriers are going to follow suit,” said Assise. “The limitations we’re seeing now with carriers that just started opening for business, closing in a matter of weeks, through the reinsurance issues, I would say is fairly unprecedented.”

“How difficult is it going to be for families to get insurance in the middle of hurricane season?” asked 8OYS investigator Mahsa Saeidi.

“The good news is we have Citizens,” said Assise. “Even though it’s the carrier of last resort, they have capacity.”

Citizens is the state-backed insurer of last resort. The company has been growing at a fast pace. If a major hurricane hits the state, industry analysts say we would all be on the hook.

In the meantime, there are immediate positive changes for homeowners as a result of the new laws.

For example, insurance companies can’t automatically deny coverage to homeowners with older roofs.

If you are impacted by this crisis and would like to share your story, email Investigator Mahsa Saeidi at [email protected]