Farmers Insurance leaving the state means 100,000 people will search for new home and car coverage.
That also means insurance agents will have their hands full.
In Southwest Florida, insurance agent Kevin Feuser will have to do some shopping for his customers.
“We had some clients call us already trying to prepare for their next renewals,” said Feuser, who works for Brightway Insurance.
He said even though Farmers has a smaller footprint in Florida, it’s still disappointing to hear another company will leave the state.
“It’s just going to mean more disruption, probably more clients to have to go into Citizens, which is not necessarily a good thing,” Feuser said.
Citizens Insurance is supposed to be the state’s insurer of last resort.
But with other insurers leaving or going insolvent, Citizens has quickly become the only resort for many homeowners.
Mark Friedlander, with the Insurance Information Institute, said the company has grown 18% this year.
“When your backstop insurer is your largest property writer in the state, there’s something very wrong with the marketplace. And the fact that even with the reforms now officially in place, and they’re still growing at a record level, we know we are far from a stable position here in Florida,” Friedlander said.
It comes at a time when Citizens is trying to reduce its customer base and limit its liability.
“It’s tough on a lot of people. I mean, it really is tough,” Feuser said.
If you’re a homeowner and you’re hearing this constant news of companies leaving Florida, going insolvent, or no longer writing policies and you’ve been through this so many times, what do you do at this point?
“The best thing to do is to contact an independent agent. There’s still options out there for most people,” Feuser said.
Feuser believes the laws that have passed over the last year or so will help with your rates and bring more companies back to the state.
However, he admits it might take another year or more before any impact is seen.