TAMPA, Fla. - Florida’s property insurance crisis is taking a few steps in the right direction as five new companies will take over hundreds of thousands of policies from Citizens Insurance.
Damage claims, whether large or small, are coming in from Hurricane Idalia.
Floridians may have more insurance options by next year.
"The storm didn't have a direct impact on Tampa Bay. But we still saw homes are flood damaged. So, if you have one inch of water, that could equate to $25,000 of damage, two inches could equate to $50,000," said Mark Friedlander, the Florida spokesperson for the Insurance Information Institute.
Friedlander said Idalia losses are estimated between $2 billion and $5 billion.
"When we see significant hurricane damage in Florida, it typically is a trigger for changes in the global reinsurance market. Reinsurance is basically insurance for property insurers," said Friedlander. "This year, Florida property insurers saw average increases for reinsurance, 40 to 70 percent above what they were last year."
That could get passed down to homeowners, and the market is still volatile.
Florida’s insurance commissioner talked about the ups and downs during a virtual town hall Wednesday with the Senate Democratic Caucus.
"Some changes that have taken place will take time to be felt and there’s a lot of reasons for that," said Commissioner Michael Yaworsky, of the Florida Office of Insurance Regulation.
Some steps in the right direction include the FOIR approving five new property insurance companies to move into the marketplace in Florida, taking on more than 202,000 policies from Citizens Insurance and easing the strain.
Hurricane Idalia caused severe damage to Florida homes.
"We’re seeing positive reactions and feelings to where rates are, where the environment is becoming more favorable not only to insurance companies that are here but growth," said Yaworsky.
What that means for homeowners is a chance to shop around.
"More choice means better news for consumers, perhaps even better pricing," said Friedlander.
The Insurance Information Institute said there’s no timeline for new policies from the five companies, but the soonest will be at the end of the year or first quarter of next year.
After years of seeing reinsurance costs go up 40 percent or higher, the state insurance commissioner said the average now was around 26 percent, showing some progress if those costs get passed down to homeowners.