Poll: Florida Insurance More Expensive, Harder To Get

May 31, 2011

The following article was published in PropertyCasualty 360º on May 31, 2011:

Poll:  Fla. Insurance More Expensive, Harder to Get 

By Chad Hemenway

Nearly three-quarters of Floridians say property insurance is getting more expensive, and more than 60 percent say coverage is harder to get, according to a Quinnipiac University poll.

Floridians want more government involvement in the regulation of the property-insurance market in the Sunshine State. Nearly 60 percent say the government should do more, while 29 percent say it is doing enough.

William Stander, assistant vice president of the Property Casualty Insurers Association of America (PCI), says more government regulation is not the solution. The state-run Citizens Property Insurance Corp. is already Florida’s top writer of commercial and property insurance, yet it does not have enough funds on hand to pay for a major hurricane, while sinkhole claims bite into the money it does have, he says.

“How would more regulation solve those problems?” he asks. Stander says the poll reflects the results of a PCI poll last year that found that 86 percent of Floridians thought their homeowners situation has stayed the same or gotten worse.

“Government’s intrusion and near takeover of the property-insurance market over the past four years has done nothing to improve the insurance situation of Florida homeowners,” Stander continues. “That is why the recently enacted SB 408 is a good first step, because it starts to put a lid on runaway costs and suspect claims while encouraging private insurers to re-enter the market.”

The bill does nothing to address Citizens. Moody’s says the supposed last-resort insurer will continue to compete with the private market, making it unlikely large homeowners insurers will expand their market share in the state.

“Whether the new law changes public attitudes about insurance in Florida, only time will tell, but there is no doubt that the electorate sees a crying need for something to make getting and paying for property insurance in Florida less onerous,” says Peter A. Brown, assistant director of the university’s Polling Institute.

The poll also puts Gov. Rick Scott’s approval rating at 29 percent, the worst of any governor in the United States. The legislature’s approval rating is worse. Just 27 percent approve of the way the state legislature is handling its job.

Find this article here:  http://www.propertycasualty360.com/2011/05/31/poll-fla-insurance-more-expensive-harder-to-get