Naples homeowner struggles with England-based insurer after Hurricane Ian

Reporter: Andryanna Sheppard

As home values go up and it cost more to make repairs after a disaster, some Southwest Florida homeowners struggle to find policies with Florida-based insurance companies. One Naples homeowner said he’s having trouble getting his company to send a check to repair his extensive Ian damage.

The day Ian hit

Richard Ribellino is no stranger to loss. On September 28, 2022, he and his family were in New Jersey.

Ribellino shows his home’s damage. Credit: WINK News

“We were attending a funeral,” Ribellino said. “Of course, we’re watching what’s going on down here with the news and decided to just hang back.”

A few days later, they came back to Hurricane Ian’s destruction all over Naples and all around their home.

Ribellino’s furniture floating

The Damage

“There was furniture floating,” Ribellino described. “There was a terrible, terrible odor from whatever came in here. I don’t know if it was sewage or if it was just from the canal and seawater. It was just unbearable. So, of course, we couldn’t stay here. We had to evacuate the home because it was unlivable.”

Ribellino’s furniture floating

They moved in with friends and family but eventually bought another home in the Golden Gate area. Now Ribellino pays two home mortgages, one of which is a construction zone. He hired a public adjuster and filed a claim with his homeowners insurance company, Lloyd’s of London. Like the name of the company suggests, it’s based in England.

Insurance Issues

Mark Friedlander with the Insurance Information Institute told WINK News Consumer Reporter Andryanna Sheppard that the company writes reinsurance, which is insurance for the insurance companies, as well as surplus lines coverage for people around the world. Surplus line carriers write policies in parts of the country that are considered high-risk and where homeowners cannot find traditional insurance.

Ribellino’s child’s bedroom. Credit: WINK News

“If you have a million-dollar home, you need to go to another market,” Friedlander added. “Most Florida residential insurers will not write high-risk coastal homes in Florida. So, you need to go to the surplus lines market and Lloyd’s is a big element of that.”

“To repair my home here, it was over a million dollars to fix. The insurance company came back and thought it was $200,000 to $300,000 to fix, which is quite different,” Ribellino said. “We put in for our contents, roughly $400,000 and they came back with $100,000.”

Another damaged room in Ribellino’s home. Credit: WINK News

Surplus Carriers

Data from the Insurance Information Institute shows about nine percent of total homeowners premiums are written by surplus lines carriers. That number is growing. Friedlander said Lloyd’s of London is the biggest supplier in the United States.

“40 percent of Lloyd’s total global premium is written in the U.S. So, they have a very strong presence here,” Friedlander added.

Ribellino has two policies with Lloyd’s of London, homeowners and excess flood. His primary flood policy is with a Florida company. He is not having much success getting a check from Lloyd’s to fix his house.

“We lost everything down here. Everything was trashed from the storm,” said Ribellino. “Everything got wet, damaged or broken.”

Ribellino’s furniture floating

And now, crickets.

“Now they’re not answering our calls. They’re not answering my [public] adjuster. They’re completely ignoring us,” Ribellino said in frustration.

Ribellino’s first floor. Credit: WINK News

WINK News Consumer Reporter Andryanna Sheppard reached out to Lloyd’s of London to get some answers. The company told her it’s “not at liberty to discuss individual policies or policyholders.”

Ribellino hopes he’ll hear from the company soon so his family can move back home.

If you would like to share your insurance situation with Andryanna Sheppard, you can do so through this form.

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