SANFORD, Florida. – As Farmers Insurance announces its intention to leave Florida, the Central Florida insurer says she may have to relocate.
“I panicked! There are very few insurance companies in the state of Florida that will insure a house that is almost 100 years old,” said Katherine Schweitzer. “It’s sad, so now we’re going to try and see where we can go with fixed income.”
“Those with old houses will have problems,” insurance agent John Darr of Darr Schackow Insurance explained.
Darr Schackow Insurance doesn’t sell farm insurance, but Darr thinks homes older than 30 years old may have trouble finding a new insurance company.
“This will complicate the situation, because one carrier will be able to buy less insurance,” he said.
CONNECTED: Farmers insurance stops service in Florida, leaving tens of thousands uninsured
A Farmers Insurance spokesman blamed the withdrawal of auto, residential and umbrella policies for increasing catastrophic costs and remodeling costs. They released this statement, which reads in part: “This business decision was necessary to effectively manage risk.”
The spokesman said it would only affect 100,000 policies sold by Farmers insurance agents, about 30% of their book – experts said the other 70% sold by independents would not be affected.
“One company called Foremost is in the home insurance business. The other, Bristol West, is in the auto insurance business,” said Mark Friendländer of the Insurance Information Institute.
Friendländer said the farmers’ agents would likely transfer the bills to these companies. “We will try to make everything as smooth as possible and help you move to another company if possible.”
Schweitzer said that if they did insure her home, the price would likely go up: “And we’ll probably have less insured value and a much higher value.”
Florida CFO Jimmy Patronis has launched an investigation into Farmers Insurance complaints that could result in fines. In a statement, the CFO’s office read in part: “We expect that if farmers cancel any policies, all pro rata amounts should be refunded to policyholders, and we are currently working with the Florida Insurance Agents Association to explore methods for Bulk policy transfer.
“We must raise our voices louder and we must get help from our politicians, regardless of the political party,” Schweitzer added.
She said it was to be her “eternal home”.
“We love it, it makes us sad, but it gets to the point where we can’t afford it,” she said.
Under state law, insurers must give policyholders 120 days’ notice before canceling their policies.