FLORIDA — A former state senator says Florida's legislature needs a long-term strategy to deal with the home insurance crisis, instead of short-term fixes.
Jeff Brandes' comments came after Farmers Insurance confirmed to Spectrum News it will discontinue offering Farmers-branded auto, home and umbrella policies in Florida.
The company says the decision is "necessary to effectively manage risk exposure." Its full statement is posted below.
It is the fourth company to leave the Florida market in the last year, with hurricane risks cited as the biggest reason.
Brandes said every bill should encourage competition and lower rates for residents.
He said many bills haven't done that.
According to our newsgathering partner, Tampa Bay Times, the company declined to speak on the record about how many people would lose coverage.
The Times reported that figures from Florida’s Office of Insurance Regulation show that Farmers has about 93,000 current home and auto policies.
Here is the full statement released Tuesday by Farmers:
We have advised the Florida Office of Insurance Regulation (OIR) of our decision to discontinue offering Farmers®-branded auto, home, and umbrella policies in the state. This business decision was necessary to effectively manage risk exposure. Farmers offers insurance through several different brands, and this decision applies only to policies issued through our exclusive agency distribution channel. There is no impact to 70 percent of policies currently in force for customers in the state, including Bristol West®, Foremost SignatureSM, Farmers GroupSelectSM, Foremost Choice® and Foremost®-branded policies. Such policies will continue to be available to serve the insurance needs of Floridians. Affected customers will receive notifications detailing when their coverage will end and will be advised of options for replacement coverage.
Florida Chief Financial Officer Jimmy Patronis, who tweeted about Farmers Insurance on Monday, released a statement Tuesday night that said in part:
“I’ve always said that when big decisions are made on insurance – the policyholder is rarely in the room – and unfortunately Farmers Insurance proved me right. I have asked my team to put their heads together in holding Farmers Insurance accountable to Florida policyholders.
"It is our expectation that if farmers cancels any policies, all prorated amounts must be returned to policyholders and we are currently working with the Florida Association of Insurance Agents to explore methods for a bulk transfer of policies. Moreover, I have asked Florida’s Insurance Consumer Advocate Tasha Carter to engage with Farmers Insurance policyholders who may be affected by this action to assess their involvement by the carrier."