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AirmensMom Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Apr-21-06 10:06 AM
Original message
Two insurance companies to drop 186,000 home policies, many in S. Florida
By Kathy Bushouse
South Florida Sun-Sentinel
Posted April 21 2006

http://www.sun-sentinel.com/news/local/southflorida/sfl...

One of South Florida's largest home insurers is shedding the policies of some customers who still have unrepaired property damage from last year's hurricanes, despite a state rule ordering insurers not to drop policies for at least 90 days after repairs are made.

Poe Financial Group's Atlantic Preferred Insurance Co. and Southern Family Insurance Co. recently told state insurance officials they won't renew more than 186,000 policies statewide because of $2 billion in losses from the 2004 and 2005 hurricane seasons.

<snip>
Despite the state rule that requires insurance companies to keep the policies of customers who have open hurricane claims, neither Atlantic Preferred nor Southern Family plans to keep those customers and have informed state regulators of their intent.

That means some homeowners could be forced to find new insurance coverage while still making repairs from last year's hurricanes. And private insurers won't touch homes with existing damage, meaning those homeowners are destined for policies with state-backed Citizens Property Insurance Corp. However, Citizens, the insurer of last resort, wouldn't be liable for the existing damage.
<snip>



Atlantic Preferred is our insurance company. We never made a claim with them and aren't going to be her long enough for them to stick it to us. We were with our previous insurance company for over 20 years without a single claim when they suddenly decided to drop us a few years ago. Homeowner's policies are ridiculously expensive here and I can't even imagine how much more expensive it is to go with Citizens, "the insurer of last resort." It's just sad. What are people supposed to do? :cry:


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Warpy Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Apr-21-06 10:11 AM
Response to Original message
1. My pop was paying a thousand bucks a year
for a policy with so many exclusions that I doubt he could have collected for anything but robbery and/or vandalism. I suppose prices are high all over that state because all areas are potential hurricane damage zones.

It certainly put my own "high crime area" $250/month policy into perspective.

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Norquist Nemesis Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Apr-21-06 10:18 AM
Response to Reply #1
8. He should claim God vandalized his property
In some parts of Florida, it just might fly!

Seriously, the insurance companies have been raking it in without paying it out for some time now, though.
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AirmensMom Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Apr-21-06 10:20 AM
Response to Reply #1
9. I can believe that.
We were paying more than that. No coverage for mold remediation in FL! That scared the daylights out of me. And the hurricane deductible is 2% of the insured value.

Yes, the prices are high because of the hurricanes. But there doesn't seem to be a place without a risk of some sort.
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Gormy Cuss Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Apr-21-06 11:19 AM
Response to Reply #9
35. Insurers are allowed to mitigate future risk, but to announce that
the company is going to cut and run after the 2005 hurricanes ought to be actionable. I'd love to see the state of Florida bankrupt these companies.

In CA, our homeowners policies exclude damage caused by earth movement -- no coverage for mudslides or earthquake. We can buy separate earthquake insurance. It usually costs as much or more than the homeowners policies and the deductible is 15% of value. No wonder why only a handful of homeowners opt for it.

I predict that insurers will cut a similar deal in Florida and along the Gulf, where hurricanes are explicitly excluded and separate high deductible plans will be offered.
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phantom power Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Apr-21-06 10:13 AM
Response to Original message
2. Climate change is going to grind civilization down to a nub.
Or worse.
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Dangerously Amused Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Apr-21-06 10:13 AM
Response to Original message
3. OMG.




My heart goes out to those people. Just makes me want to cry... :cry:




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AirmensMom Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Apr-21-06 10:21 AM
Response to Reply #3
10. Me too, DA.
:cry: It's getting harder and harder for people to make ends meet.
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Zynx Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Apr-21-06 10:14 AM
Response to Original message
4. I'm not going to pass a moral judgement on this, but it was bound to
happen. Insurers are simply not going to insure in the Gulf anymore. Last hurricane season wiped out more than 10% of the entire asset base of the property insurance industry even with as little as they covered. What's more is that it is their legal right to deny insurance as they see fit. Cancelling policies is questionable legally, but in the long run they have the right to not sell policies on the Gulf Coast.

Because of the changing global climate, we need to think seriously about our population distribution. I don't believe in giving people subsidies to live in areas people have no business living in. For example, I don't believe in other states bailing out Arizona with water just so that they can defy nature and build a golf course in the middle of the desert. We should give the people sufficient money to relocate into areas further inland and stop the yearly bail outs for people living in hazard zones. I will only support the yearly bail out if I similarly get a federal subsidy for not living in an area where my house will be destroyed. Long term it makes no sense to cling to the low lying areas with a death grip just so people can walk out onto their front porch to get a tan. Climate change makes this something we really have to look at long and hard.
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billyskank Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Apr-21-06 10:16 AM
Response to Reply #4
6. Harsh but you're probably right
:(
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Zynx Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Apr-21-06 10:21 AM
Response to Reply #6
11. We have a lot of long term problems cropping up that won't be easy to
solve. American loves the easy, painless solution and papering things over because they are unpleasant, but the time for that is running out and real solutions are needed.
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billyskank Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Apr-21-06 10:26 AM
Response to Reply #11
15. We are doing crazy things in the UK too
Developers much prefer building in the green belts to reusing old brownfield sites, and many new housing projects are developed on flood plains. And everyone is so surprised when their houses get flooded. :eyes:

At the same time there is unused housing stock crumbling in the north, because everything is focussed on expansion in the south.

After the first flooding it's nigh on impossible to get insurance.
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northofdenali Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Apr-21-06 11:04 AM
Response to Reply #15
30. Don't you love floodplains?
Here's a giggle - the entire Tanana Valley (a huge mass of land in central Alaska) is considered a flood plain. Even if you're 8 miles from any river, and 2000 feet above sea level, in order to get a mortgage with most lenders, flood insurance is mandatory.

A bunch of people I know are grouping together to file suit - not against insurers, naturally, but against the lenders requiring the ridiculous coverage.
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AirmensMom Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Apr-21-06 11:13 AM
Response to Reply #30
32. Our mortgage company requires our flood insurance
to have the same amount of coverage that we have on our homeowner's insurance ... even though we don't owe anywhere near that amount on the mortgage AND we're unlikely to have a total loss. My insurance agent fought them for MONTHS a few years ago, got a new flood map for us, the whole thing and they still required us to buy more flood insurance. But our homeowner's insurance is so expensive that it makes flood insurance look like a bargain.
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northofdenali Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Apr-21-06 03:37 PM
Response to Reply #32
50. I worry about my mom in Brevard County.
Her house is right near Sykes Creek and the Banana River, and she is 90 years old. She can't afford a huge jump in insurance costs. I wouldn't blame her for dropping her insurance altogether. If a hurricane ever totaled the house, I'd be glad to help her buy one or to help her buy a little condo or something.

I read somewhere that Allstate, which took the biggest hit for Katrina and Rita, and a couple others, is no longer insuring in Florida. When your poilcy expires, bang, that's it. Yet Allstate made it's biggest net profit ever last year.

Go figure :mad:
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AirmensMom Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Apr-21-06 04:45 PM
Response to Reply #50
51. I would worry, too.
And the deductible is so damn high, who can afford that either?

That's how they do it ... they just won't renew. It's hard for me to feel sorry for the insurance companies.
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Mend Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Apr-21-06 10:22 AM
Response to Reply #4
12. we lost over $20,000 in Hurricane Wilma and the insurance
Edited on Fri Apr-21-06 10:23 AM by Mend
paid for nothing, NOTHING! Our homeowners policy now costs more than our taxes for our house. We have lived in our house several blocks from the Gulf for twenty years and the insurance company has never paid us a nickel for any damage from any storm (mostly trees blown over). While you guys are using up precious fossil fuel to warm up your cold hearts, we have our windows open to the fresh, clean air.
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Zynx Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Apr-21-06 10:25 AM
Response to Reply #12
13. I don't think I need to remind you all the energy that is used to keep the
South livable too. Funny thing about heat is that humans don't tend to do well in it. I'll tell you this much, all those air conditioners don't run on love.
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raccoon Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Apr-21-06 10:34 AM
Response to Reply #13
18. Without air conditioning, there wouldn't have been nearly as
many people--and companies-- migrating there from colder climates.

I've lived without AC but I wouldn't want to again. Especially as it's hotter now than several decades ago.
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Zynx Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Apr-21-06 10:46 AM
Response to Reply #18
22. Working without air conditioning would have been much more difficult.
I can't imagine what would happen if suddenly air conditioners just went poof and disappeared.
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AirmensMom Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Apr-21-06 10:53 AM
Response to Reply #22
27. Probably the same thing that would happen if furnaces disappeared.
I wish the power companies would harness some of the solar power we have.

For what it's worth, our A/C heats our water. At least it's some savings.
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Mend Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Apr-21-06 11:02 AM
Response to Reply #22
29. the power was out over a week last time, the temperatures were
in the eighties, and we used fans. It was okay. The biggest problem is bugs which seem to get through screens, the weather is usually doable with or without air but of course much more comfortable in summer with air.
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AirmensMom Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Apr-21-06 11:23 AM
Response to Reply #29
36. After Hurricane Wilma,
we were without power for about a week. I sort of liked it, but I think we had cooler temps then. The biggest thing is the humidity ... and I'm allergic to mold, so it's much better for me to have A/C.
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AirmensMom Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Apr-21-06 10:37 AM
Response to Reply #12
19. I'm sorry to hear that, Mend.
We didn't have enough damage to make a claim, fortunately, and we renewed in December before they got a chance to raise the rates again. We thought about raising our coverage, but for what? Higher premiums and higher deductibles? No thanks!

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MadHound Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Apr-21-06 10:28 AM
Response to Reply #4
16. Trouble is, virtually everywhere is a hazard zone,
Especially with global climate change taking hold. Live on the Gulf and East coast, problems with hurricanes. Live in the Midwest and South, tornadoes. Live in the west, fire and earthquakes. Virtually everyplace that people live in this country is radially effected by a natural disaster at least once every ten years or so. It is the risk of living with an ever changing world and an ever changing enviroment :shrug:
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Zynx Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Apr-21-06 10:51 AM
Response to Reply #16
25. Tornadoes are not anywhere near as dangerous as hurricanes.
Tornadoes do what? A couple billion in damage...maybe? Big earthquakes are fairly uncommon. Hurricanes and the rising sea level that threaten the Gulf Coast? Those are either frequent or recurring problems.

To me this is as if someone built a house at the base of Mount Kilauea in Hawaii which oozes out lava virtually every day and expects people to keep paying to rebuild their house.
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AirmensMom Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Apr-21-06 11:05 AM
Response to Reply #25
31. At least you get warning with hurricanes.
We were able to button this house up pretty well for Hurricane Wilma and we only had minor damage. If it had been a tornado, we would not have had the opportunity to prepare. We've been here for 12 years and this is the first hurricane that has done any damage at all. They build houses out of reinforced concrete block down here now and they're quite strong. I would rather go through a hurricane in this house than a tornado in a stick house any day of the year.

Last year was very unusual in the number of hurricanes and the frequency that they hit the states ... although I agree with you that it will continue to get worse as the ocean warms up. And I am more than happy to leave the area before hurricane season starts up.
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MadHound Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Apr-21-06 11:39 AM
Response to Reply #25
38. Actually tornadoes are much more dangerous, pound for pound
Than a hurricane. The most powerful hurricane has winds of what, 200mph tops. A tornado can rip through with a base a mile wide, last for twenty miles, and have wind speeds in excess of 300mph. In addition, tornadoes have a tendency to "train" through an area, with twister after twister hitting the same area for weeks. For instance, there is a town here in Missouri called Sedalia. A month and a half ago it got hit by a good size twister. This set up local weather conditions(heat, humidity, etc) that it got hit twice more. This happens a lot, what isn't taken out by the first twister is taken out by the second, or third or fourth.

In addition, while New Orleans got hit once for the big dollar damage in the past thirty five years, tornadoes will strike with regularity. I would imagine that the damage from tornadoes in my state, Missouri, over the past thirty five years equals the damage done to Louisiana by hurricanes over the past thirty five years.

And yes, climate change is going to effect both weather phenomenon dramatically. Hurricanes are going to become more frequent and larger, as will tornadoes.

Like I said, it is a risk living anywhere on the face of this earth. Go with the risk you're more comfortable with :shrug:
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Zynx Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Apr-21-06 11:51 AM
Response to Reply #38
39. Pound for pound yes, there is no question.
Edited on Fri Apr-21-06 11:55 AM by Zynx
However, I really don't think that there has been anywhere near the tornado damage done nationwide even over the past 30 years to equal what happened in the past two years on the Gulf Coast. In the past two years, we have sustained well well in excess of $100 billion in damage on the gulf coast.

This is a statistic I found:

"In addition to something in the range of 50-100 fatalities per year, tornadoes cause about $1 billion in damage annually in the United States."
http://webserv.chatsystems.com/~doswell/bonanza.html

Hurricanes do a lot more than that, I'm afraid. There is simply no comparison in the amount of damage. This does not even take into account the fact that the Gulf Coast, unlike to Midwest, is simply going to be slowly overtaken by water over the next century.

EDIT:

Given what Katrina did to Louisiana, it alone did more damage than tornadoes have done to Missouri possibly in the past 50 years, even adjusting for inflation. That doesn't count all the other hurricanes and tropical storms that have hit them.
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AirmensMom Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Apr-21-06 10:28 AM
Response to Reply #4
17. Where is it completely safe?
We have hurricanes, tornadoes, earthquakes, and floods all around our country. At least South FL has building codes that make total loss less likely in a hurricane.

We're moving out of here, but I feel bad for the people who can't do that.
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Zynx Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Apr-21-06 10:48 AM
Response to Reply #17
23. The problem is the degree of problems.
The Gulf Coast has both short term problems(hurricanes) and long term problems(rising sea levels and more hurricanes with warmer ocean water). Most of the country doesn't have that many problems.
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billyskank Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Apr-21-06 10:15 AM
Response to Original message
5. That sucks so hard
Capitalism and markets were supposed to work everything out for us wonderfully. It all just falls apart when things go badly. Insurance companies bail out when natural disasters strike. Our pension plans are worthless. But government is the problem, apparently. :eyes:
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AirmensMom Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Apr-21-06 10:46 AM
Response to Reply #5
21. It does suck.
I've had a lot of experience with insurance companies ... they like to collect their premiums but they just don't like to pay out.
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billyskank Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Apr-21-06 12:35 PM
Response to Reply #21
41. No, they just want you to pay them money for nothing
:grr:
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Mend Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Apr-21-06 12:37 PM
Response to Reply #41
42. exactly....we have gotten nothing for our premiums in 30 yrs. and
they keep raising them.
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Shine Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Apr-21-06 10:17 AM
Response to Original message
7. Damn insurance companies!
:mad: :thumbsdown:
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AirmensMom Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Apr-21-06 11:14 AM
Response to Reply #7
33. Yessirree!
:grr: I hate 'em all.
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catmandu57 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Apr-21-06 10:25 AM
Response to Original message
14. Tornado alley is next
People won't be able to get coverage for tornado damage next, then the flood zones will expand. I hate fucking insurance companies, it's legalized extortion, these fuckers can weasle out of a legitimate claim so fast it makes the head spin, goddamn scum sucking bottom feeders.
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AirmensMom Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Apr-21-06 10:49 AM
Response to Reply #14
24. You're probably right.
At least flood insurance is still affordable. I sure couldn't have put it any better than you did! I spent the last two years trying to get a legitimate claim out of another kind of insurance company. Yeah, it got settled, but I'll never get what they contracted to pay. :grr:
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Coastie for Truth Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Apr-21-06 10:43 AM
Response to Original message
20. This is the Insurance Mafia's Business Model
PART 1 OF THE MODEL
    a. Take the customer's money
    b. Deny the claim when the insured event actually happens
    c. Make the customer sue on his claim when the insured event happens
    c. At which point the insurance industry screams "frivolous law suits" and "tort reform" and "avaricious trial lawyers."
PART 2 OF THE MODEL
    a. Privatize profit
    b. Socialize Risk (i.e., run to the government for a bail out)

This two part business model has been played out in Flood Insurance, Earthquake Insurance, Price-Anderson Nuclear Reactor Insurance, among others.
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AirmensMom Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Apr-21-06 11:18 AM
Response to Reply #20
34. Well, I've been through Part 1
all the way through ... only it was an ERISA case, which is already heavily in favor of the insurance companies.



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porphyrian Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Apr-21-06 10:52 AM
Response to Original message
26. What does that leave? One insurance company in Florida?
JEB! is such a fucking piece of shit.
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AirmensMom Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Apr-21-06 10:54 AM
Response to Reply #26
28. Yeah ... Citizens.
And they're required by law to charge a higher rate than the most expensive private insurer in the state.

You're certainly right about Jeb! He makes me as sick as his stupid brother does. :puke:
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kcass1954 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Apr-21-06 11:32 AM
Response to Original message
37. Last year, my homeowner's was $60 less than the taxes, not including
the flood insurance. We just refi'd and upped our coverage - we renew next month, so I don't know what the new premium is yet. I expect that the escrow account will be short after the insurance is paid.

We did get money from the insurance for our roof, and it's only about $1000 less than what we're going to pay for the new one. This was our first claim after 23 years of coverage with this company.
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AirmensMom Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Apr-21-06 11:58 AM
Response to Reply #37
40. Our escrow was short every year.
I dreaded that letter every January telling me how much extra money they wanted.

I sure hope your company doesn't cancel you now.
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juajen Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Apr-21-06 12:48 PM
Response to Reply #37
44. We renew in June
We've already been told that our minimum increase is $25.00 per month. This is the amount everyone's ins. will be increased to cover the catastrophe of Katrina and Rita. I don't know if that's just in Louisiana or nationwide.

There will also be another increase based on future liability, as we are in Lafayette in So. Louisiana. We are already paying $145 per month. I guess the new rate will be about $200 per month. We are not in a flood plain, and we have only had a small catastrophe claim for $1,000 for porch damage from Lily.

Soon, renting will be the only choice for us. As little as five years ago, we were paying $45 premiums to Travelers. There is no excuse for this highway robbery.
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riona Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Apr-21-06 12:44 PM
Response to Original message
43. Florida is not an insurance friendly place
We have USAA and the only reason they insured us here is because we were existing customers. Fortunately, we haven't had hurricane damage and I hope we never do. Purchased flood insurance this year too although we aren't in a flood zone. I have no clue what people are doing with canceled policies.
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AirmensMom Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Apr-21-06 02:53 PM
Response to Reply #43
46. We had Maryland Casualty for the same reason.
Then they decided to stop doing business in FL and we got dumped. We were lucky to stay out of Citizens, but our premiums still went up big time.

People are hurting, that's for sure. :cry:
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riona Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Apr-21-06 02:59 PM
Response to Reply #46
48. Will you be moving before the hurricane season?
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AirmensMom Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Apr-21-06 03:03 PM
Response to Reply #48
49. Sure will.
June 15 at the latest ... probably closer to June 1.
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bluedog Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Apr-21-06 01:20 PM
Response to Original message
45. Here St pete.ours went up $135 month
this is the third company I have had.....every year someone drops ......what pisses me off......Citizens and the State of Fl is making all the rest of the Insurer's in Fl...raise their rates to cover the failure of Citizens Insurance........if citizens can't pay their clients...then why in the hell does my insurance company have to help them......we are having a hard enough time to keep from going to the poor house...

also.I believe that if a insurance company in Fl........does not want to carry homeowners insurance....then they should be DENIED the right to write policies for AUTO and Health Insurance Policies......
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AirmensMom Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Apr-21-06 02:57 PM
Response to Reply #45
47. Went up $135/month?
Ouch! That's a big chunk per year!

I think that would be a good idea. We were able to sort of enforce it with our old company while they were still picking and choosing who to drop. I simply told the agent that if they dump our homeowner's policy, our auto policy goes with it. That worked until they got out of the state.

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