September 8th, 2014
A decade ago, four hurricanes came through Florida, causing miles of devastation and $45 billion in property damage, according to USA Today. Since the devastating events, homeowners faced rising home insurance rates and losing their policies if their insurance companies considered them too risky.
Home insurance costs in the state rose to some of the highest rates in the U.S., according to USA Today. As of 2011, Florida homeowners were paying on average $1,933 for insurance each year, which was almost twice what the average American homeowner paid.
But finally, Florida citizens may be able to see the light at the end of the tunnel. Citizens Property Insurance Corp. insures high risk homeowners and is starting to shift its customers back to the private market. As of July 31, the state-backed insurance company had about 933,807 policies compared to 1.43 million policies in May 2012. Policies that are leaving Citizens Property are moving to one of four companies: Heritage Property and Casualty Insurance Company, SafePoint Insurance Company, Tower Hill Preferred Insurance Company or Weston Insurance Company.
Additionally, Customers of Citizens Property will also pay on average 3.7 percent less on their policies next year. The new rates will go into effect February 1 of next year, according to an official statement from the Florida Office of Insurance Regulation.
An audit requested by Jeff Atwater, Florida's chief financial officer, is another reason to believe insurance prices are declining in the state. The audit revealed many property insurers are lowering their rates, according to USA Today.
"There is reason to be optimistic that the Florida homeowners market is steadily improving," said state Insurance Commissioner Kevin McCarty, according to USA Today. "Not only are rates trending downward, record depopulation of Citizens is underway, new companies are coming to Florida and competition in the homeowners market is robust."