It has become a sweeping generality all Florida citizens now live with — insurance prices are going up, and up, and up. There has been much to-do about this in the Tampa Bay area, as well as across the state, but it seems little relief is in sight for those whose rates have increased up to and over 50%, or in the case of the average Homewise Insurance Co. customer, 75.8%, in the past few years. The insurance companies are using the excuse that they are not getting enough money from their current customers, yet they are dropping them in droves while calling for rate increases. This leaves thousands of Floridians uninsured in the event of a hurricane.
Ask almost any Floridian and they can cite examples of times their houses were at least a little damaged by one of the many hurricanes that have hit in the time they’ve been citizens. Be it Hurricane Charley, Hurricane Andrew, or Hurricane Frances, all have taken their toll on homes and homeowners alike. Insurance companies like State Farm use the excuse that because of this, they can no longer insure many who they once did.
A low grumble has intensified to an angry roar over this as the epidemic swept across the state. Thousands are forced to choose between living comfortably and paying for their house insurance. Consumers who have been dropped, including 50,000 of State Farm customers who will be dropped next year, have stopped believing it’s about hurricanes and now, it is only about profits for the insurance companies. Many also feel abandoned by the government, despite Governor Charlie Crist’s vow to take on the insurance companies.
The hurricane that has ensued between consumers and insurance companies rivals a category five, and with due right. This is the 70-year-old couple in Boca Raton’s retirement money, this is the middle-aged mom’s college fund for her kids … this is a big deal to Floridians young and old. Or this is our next door neighbor’s house, gone with no help from insurance after a devastating hurricane season.
The fear that comes with these insurance hikes is indescribable to those who have not experienced firsthand. The fear of losing your home, your livelihood, or your life savings … it is the kind of fear many can’t bear to live with. Calling out to local governments has provided flowery promises, but little action. As Floridians prepare for the hurricanes that are supposed to knock their state off the map, insurance companies increase their premiums or eliminate their policies all together. And for what? There have been hurricanes devastating Florida for years, but never has the mere thought of one plagued Floridians to the point of leaving their homes. So much is being said, but so little is actually being done to help solve this problem.
Oh, where’s Michael Moore when you need him?
Kathy Bushouse, “Arbitrators OK 75.8% rate increase for Homewise Insurance customers”, Sun-sentinel.com
Paul Owers, “State Farm to cut 50,000 home insurance policies along Fla. coast”, Sun-sentinel.com
“Property Tax and Insurance Reform”, flgov.com