Monday, December 11

Citizens Insurance policies could grow as Progressive ‘rebalances’ business in Florida

Insurance agents in Florida are beginning to feel the impact of the “rebalancing” plan by Progressive to not renew about 100,000 homeowners policies.

“They are turning off the switch in essence to us as an agent, which gives them the ability to cancel all our clients on the homeowners’ side,” Robert Norberg of Arden Insurance in Lantana said.

Progressive announced on Friday its plan, which would affect policies up for renewal in the spring, but some insurance experts say nonrenewals from Progressive have already started.

“Last year many people don’t realize they quietly reduced their policies by 56,000,” Mark Friedlander of the Insurance Information Institute said. “Those were primarily due to roof age.”

Progressive, like other large companies including Farmers which left the state earlier this year, has found doing business in Florida has carried high risk.

Florida-based Loggerhead Insurance, which was formed last year, has agreed to assume many Progressive policies. However, price could be a big factor, leading to higher numbers for state-backed Citizens Insurance, which has 1.3 million policies.

“I don’t see Citizens slowing down. I see it picking up,” Norberg said. “Even if the other company comes in and takes maybe a third or half of these policies, you’re still going to have 50,000 or so floating in the wind.”

Friedlander said Progressive customers who lose their coverage may also feel a hike in other coverage.

“Progressive is one the few companies that enables customers to bundle here in Florida because they write home and auto,” Friedlander said. “If theyre dropping your home policy, you’re going to lose your discount not only on your home coverage but on auto coverage.”

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