Saturday, June 22

Here’s why Florida gas stations are being hit with higher insurance bills

The impacts of Florida’s insurance crisis are being felt way beyond the neighborhoods where homeowners are struggling with rising premiums.

Even as the price of fuel starts to increase, at least one gas station owner in West Palm Beach said it’s not because of insurance.

“None of that reflects the extra cost that we have just for insurance,” Alex Fernandez, the owner of Southern Gas in West Palm Beach, said.

Fernandez said the cost of insurance at his station located at Southern Boulevard and Parker Avenue is rising quickly.

“More than double … in a year,” Fernandez said referring to the insurance premium on his business. “The biggest thing is the canopy for the pumps, the wind coverage.”

Fernandez said it’s become such a problem that six insurers wouldn’t even offer him wind coverage for his gas station.

“All the problems we’re seeing with roofs and things uninsurable for windstorms are taking a hit on the commercial side now,” Robert Norberg of Arden Insurance in Lantana said.

Norberg said gas stations have always been viewed as a high risk for insurance companies. However, only recently has the cost jumped, mainly because of the rising cost of replacement of the canopies over the gas pumps.

“They’re always out in the open. There’s no way to protect or secure them from a wind storm event,” Norberg explained. “That’s the first thing you see on the news flying away, the gas station canopy took off.”

Fernandez said the rising cost is not something her can easily pass on to consumers since gas prices are very competitive and many products in his store are covered by contracts that limit pricing.

“All these businesses and the other people I talk to that are in this, we’re just absorbing the extra cost in terms of the insurance,” Fernandez said.

If you have any questions or issues with homeowners insurance, email WPTV reporter Matt Sczesny at

matt.sczesny@wptv.com

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