As Florida’s insurance consumer advocate, I am disappointed in State Farm Florida’s decision to exit the property insurance market. Instead of dwelling on the reasons for the company’s decision, we need to consider the immediate fallout.
First, we must look at the current state of Florida’s insurance market. Since Hurricane Andrew in 1992, large national insurers have been reducing the amount of property insurance they write in Florida. Yet, there are 135 insurers currently writing residential property insurance here. The Office of Insurance Regulation has stated that these companies have the capacity to take over State Farm’s policies. Several insurance companies are already aiming new ads at State Farm policyholders, and many insurance company representatives say that their companies have plans to pick up between 25,000 and 100,000 State Farm policies.
I am confident that through the robust private insurance market, the most important thing — a consumer’s right to choose from a competitive marketplace — will be preserved, so long as State Farm does not appeal the provisions recently set forth by the Office of Insurance Regulation.