Thursday, November 15, 2018
Business

Homeowners insurance: Floridians pay more than double U.S. average

It's still more expensive to buy homeowners insurance in Florida than anywhere else in the country.

In fact, Florida homeowners are now paying more than double the national average.

Average insurance premiums statewide for the most common type of homeowners policy rose nearly 8 percent in 2012 to $2,084, according to data released this week from the National Association of Insurance Commissioners.

That makes Florida the first state to cross the $2,000 mark in average premiums and widens the gap between the next two states on the list, both of them coastal: Louisiana (average premiums of $1,742) and Texas ($1,661).

The national average: $1,034. For the record, Florida's premiums are 102 percent higher.

To calculate the numbers, the NAIC collected data from insurance statistical agents for all states except Texas and California, both of which supplied data directly to the association.

Given the long lag in compiling and releasing state data, the latest snapshot doesn't reflect the impact of any recent moves to curtail high premiums. Throughout 2014 private insurers across Florida along with state-run Citizens Property Insurance have cut rates for most property owners amid lower reinsurance costs, a cutback in eligibility for sinkhole insurance, and what turned into the ninth-straight hurricane-free year.

Still, even for homeowners used to paying higher rates, the numbers are a shocking wake-up call.

J. Robert Hunter, director of insurance for the Consumer Federation of America and former Texas insurance commissioner, said he was surprised — not that Florida remained No. 1 but that it widened the gap between fellow hurricane-susceptible Louisiana.

He suspected some price gouging by reinsurers, who provide insurance companies an extra layer of coverage to pay for claims after a catastrophe.

Within Florida, Hunter said, the cost to property owners varies to a wide degree.

"There's a huge difference between South Florida and the rest of the state," he said. "The coastal areas in particular. South Florida, all the models say, is the most at-risk place in the country."

Hunter gave credit to state officials, including beleaguered Florida Insurance Commissioner Kevin McCarty, who worked to make insurers buy some reinsurance through the Florida Hurricane Catastrophe Fund.

"Your rates would have been much higher if the state didn't act in 2006," he said. "It's bad, but it could have been a lot worse."

Contact Jeff Harrington at [email protected] or (813) 226-3434. Follow @JeffMHarrington.

Comments
Inside the newsroom: Tampa Bay Times project team takes a deep dive inside a notorious Florida death penalty case

Inside the newsroom: Tampa Bay Times project team takes a deep dive inside a notorious Florida death penalty case

A project team at the Tampa Bay Times explores the death penalty in Florida through a notorious 1975 murder case.
Updated: 1 hour ago
Pasco Business Digest for Nov. 23

Pasco Business Digest for Nov. 23

News and notes on local businesses.
Updated: 1 hour ago
How do you feel about a $35 million bike path across the new Howard Frankland bridge?

How do you feel about a $35 million bike path across the new Howard Frankland bridge?

The overhaul to the Howard Frankland Bridge includes a bike and pedestrian path. Is it worth it?
Updated: 2 hours ago
Gulport woman sues Dog Bar over bite

Gulport woman sues Dog Bar over bite

A Gulfport woman is suing St. Petersburg's Dog Bar, saying she was attacked by a dog there in May.
Updated: 5 hours ago
Paper or plastic? Either will cost you under St. Petersburg proposal

Paper or plastic? Either will cost you under St. Petersburg proposal

In addition to new regulations on straws and Styrofoam, the city is looking at implementing a fee for all single-use bags
Published: 11/16/18
Port Tampa Bay negotiating to move ConAgra flour mill to Port Redwing

Port Tampa Bay negotiating to move ConAgra flour mill to Port Redwing

After 80 years in downtown Tampa, the ConAgra flour mill could be moving to Port Redwing near Apollo Beach, clearing the way for a future expansion of Water Street Tampa.
Published: 11/15/18
The 2018 Black Friday guide to shopping: Walmart, Target, Amazon, Best Buy

The 2018 Black Friday guide to shopping: Walmart, Target, Amazon, Best Buy

With Black Friday looming, and most major retailers kicking sales off after dinner on Thanksgiving, here's a guide that breaks down the trends and when your favorite retailers are open.
Published: 11/15/18
Out of the circus business, Feld aims to get into theme parks

Out of the circus business, Feld aims to get into theme parks

With the Ringling circus shuttered, the Palmetto-based entertainment company looks to expand into the attractions industry.
Published: 11/15/18
Citizens Property Insurance Co. took a smaller hit from Hurricane Michael than expected.

Citizens Property Insurance Co. took a smaller hit from Hurricane Michael than expected.

The state-backed insurer of last resort says it has received just more than 3,100 claims so far.
Published: 11/15/18
Gov. Rick Scott names engineer Hung Mai to board of Port Tampa Bay

Gov. Rick Scott names engineer Hung Mai to board of Port Tampa Bay

If confirmed by the Florida Senate, civil engineer Hung Mai of Lutz will replace former Greater Tampa Chamber of Commerce chairman Mike Griffin, who resigned from the board of Port Tampa Bay in July.
Published: 11/15/18