State Farm Florida has found another argument to use in its legal battle to hike homeowners insurance rates. For the first nine months of the year, the Florida unit of the insurance giant lost $198.6-million and its surplus shrank by nearly $202-million. And that's without a major storm. In the company's third-quarter report, it cites a $217-million underwriting loss for the nine months. It also said its earned premiums fell $156-million because of fewer policies and a state-mandated expansion of giving discounts to property owners through the windstorm-mitigation program. Insurance Commissioner Kevin McCarty has rejected State Farm's request for a 47 percent average rate increase, a case that's now on appeal before an administrative law judge.