Contrary to conventional wisdom, property insurance coverage in Florida doesn't always just go up.
Case in point: Florida-based Security First Insurance, which filed with state regulators this week to cut homeowners insurance rates an average of 9.3 percent statewide.
The company on Friday estimated that the rate decrease will affect more than 100,000 Florida policyholders. Among bay area counties, it has about 14,400 policies in Hillsborough, 6,300 policies in Pasco, 1,300 in Hernando and 700 in Pinellas.
Security First Insurance attributed the lower rates to a drop in noncatastrophe losses — such as claims for damage caused by water, fire and theft — along with a drop in reinsurance costs. Insurers buy reinsurance as an added layer of coverage to help them pay claims after catastrophes like hurricanes.
Under Florida law, property insurers are allowed to put rate decreases into effect without prior approval from the Florida Office of Insurance Regulation under what's called a "use and file" notice. That lets companies bypass a traditional approval process that could take up to 90 days.
Instead, Security First's new rates will be effective Oct. 15 for new business and Dec. 1 for renewal policies.