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Insurance company State Farm has told Florida officials that it is going to stop selling property insurance in that state. The move could leave more than a million customers looking for a policy. From Miami, NPR's Greg Allen reports.
GREG ALLEN: State Farm says during 2008, it saw its surpluses in Florida reduced by $201 million. And that was in a year when no major hurricanes hit the Sunshine State. To help rebuild the surplus, State Farm asked Florida regulators for a 47 percent rate increase. That request was denied. Yesterday top company officials met with regulators in Tallahassee to inform them State Farm was pulling out of the Florida residential market. Ed Domansky of the Office of Insurance Regulation says consumers will have lots of options. In the last two years, he says, 30 new insurance companies have been licensed to write homeowner policies in Florida.
Mr. ED DOMANSKY (Office of Insurance Regulation, Florida): With the new companies that have come into the state of Florida in recent years, there will be adequate opportunity for State Farm customers who may lose their State Farm coverage to find a new insurer.
ALLEN: The state now has 90 days to review State Farm's request to pull out of the market. After that, the company is required to give customers at least six months notice if their policies won't be renewed. State Farm says its decision will only affect property insurance policies, not it's nearly three million auto insurance customers or those with life and health insurance coverage. When asked about State Farm's announcement yesterday, Florida's governor, Charlie Crist, was anything but conciliatory, saying, quote, "Floridians will be better off without them." Greg Allen, NPR News, Miami.
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