Lauren Verno, Consumer investigative reporter | Published: May 18, 2021 2:01 pm Updated: May 19, 2021 7:10 pm
Not all of those customers are aware they’re about to go into hurricane season without coverage
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – More than 50,000 Floridians are about to lose their home insurance, and many of those people have not been told that yet.
This comes as the start of hurricane season is less than two weeks away.
The three insurance companies dropping more than 50,000 customers are Universal Insurance of North America, Gulfstream Property & Casualty, and Southern Fidelity.
While some insurance agents are reaching out directly to their customers to let them know they’re getting dropped, it’s on the state to send out the notification, and with those letters going out last week, there’s a good chance not everyone is aware they’re about to go into hurricane season without coverage.
Brightway Insurance agent Matt Carlucci Jr. is one of the agents who has been calling clients all week.
“It’s mostly being driven by roof fraud,” Carlucci said. “Insurance companies, at the end of the day, because they had been losing so much money, they decided, look, we’re going to raise our rates to the point of where we’re going to collect the cost of a new roof from your premiums in about three years.”
In addition to raising rates, Carlucci said, those companies decided not to renew some customers and only accept customers with newer homes and roofs.
He said the best way to find out if you’re one of the customers being dropped and haven’t gotten that letter yet is to call your agent or call the insurance carrier directly.
Regardless of who you call, Carlucci said, have patience because there are tens of thousands of people in the same boat.
Gulfstream Property & Casualty insurance is canceling more than 20,000 residential policies, effective June 28.
Universal Insurance Company of North America is canceling more than 13,000 residential policies, effective June 29.
Southern Fidelity is canceling more than 19,600 policies over the next 14 months.
And if you find you’ve been dropped, Carlucci offered some advice on looking for new homeowners insurance.
“I would really strongly advise against making the premium the number one thing that you look at. Even if you get a low premium, it will go up. So that probably needs to be toward the bottom of the list of what you’re looking at,” Carlucci said. “You want to look at the quality of the carrier.”
Florida’s insurance commissioner said they made the decision to approve the cancellations and non-renewals as an extraordinary remedy to address insurers who would otherwise be in hazardous financial condition. Ultimately, the companies can no longer pay up.
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