A Florida property market that has already seen increased prices and volatility took another big hit on Friday as news broke that United Property and Casualty (UPC) Insurance, one of the biggest statewide players for home insurance, revealed that as of Jan. 1, 2022, they are no longer writing new homeowner business.
Citing catastrophic losses, the company that is responsible for nearly 200,000 active Florida policies sent a memo to agents that pointed toward an unusually active storm season in 2020 that proved to be particularly costly. Coupled with rising reinsurance rates and litigation costs, UPC decided to shutter its new policy writing in an attempt to recoup losses.
When reached for comment, a UPC agent told The Capitolist that there are no known plans to reinstate the administering of new policies, though that could change in the future depending on the state of the Florida insurance market.
“Following the unprecedented 2020 storm season, the significant increase in reinsurance cost, and the worsening litigation trends within many of our markets, UPC has made the difficult decision to suspend new business.” a company statement said.
An additional large insurance player, Florida Farm Bureau, undertook similar action last year, also halting the administering of new policies from Nov. 2021 forward. Similarly, Progressive Insurance recently announced that they would restrict the renewal of homeowner insurance for those individuals that own property with a roof that is older than 16 years, according to a Progressive statement.
Sen. Jeff Brandes recently lambasted the structure of Florida’s property insurance system, insinuating that residents are entrapped in a ‘crisis.’
This is an all-hands-on-deck situation. We are not far off from homeowners paying more for insurance premiums than the mortgage,” said Brandes. “Florida’s property insurance rates are going up 30% a year, how much money does the state spend on research property insurance…zero.”
As the precarious situation worsens for private insurance corporations, many are arguing for legislative change that builds upon what was passed during the previous Legislative Session.
“Despite legislative reforms passed during the 2021 Legislative Session, Florida’s homeowners have continued to see dramatic property rate increases. At the same time, the insurance industry is losing billions to unnecessary lawsuits from third-party contractors,” the Florida Association of Insurance Agents said. “For the first three quarters if 2021, financial results show that property insurers had $1.22 billion in underwriting losses.”