Florida homeowners insurance

Universal Insurance Holdings Turns a Profit

Tuesday, March 12, 2013


Do you have your policy with Universal Insurance Holdings?  If not, that is o.k., but many Floridians turn to the largest private home insurance company in the state for their insurance needs.   For those policyholders that chose to go with Universal it is probably very nice to see in this tough marketplace that they finally turned in a fourth quarter profit.  Do you as consumers feel more comfortable with your carrier when they turn a profit, or just offer cheap rates? 

Universal is located in the beautiful South Florida city of Fort Lauderdale.  They are a publically traded company that posted a net profit of over $4 million this past quarter.  A much improved carrier for financial performance when compared to the $2 million plus loss in the fourth quarter last year.  They have seen a large increase in direct premiums over this past quarter, which should have their investors very happy.  As Floridian purchasing homeowners insurance, I guess we like to see the carriers we do business with turn a profit, which shows the ability to pay a claim.  How much profit is too much?

President and CEO Sean Downes recently said, “Our full-year 2012 results reflected the successful execution of our business plan leading to better underwriting margins compared to a year ago”.

The increase in profit was likely to do the approval of a 14% increase in premiums earlier this year.  Getting that regulatory approval must have been tough, but they were able to squeak it through. 

If you are looking for a quality company to insure your home, Universal Insurance is top notch.  They have a strong balance sheet with the ability to pay claims.  This is probably the most important issue homeowners in Florida should look into.  It is not always wise to buy just on price.  Get a Universal quote today.  


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Home Insurance Costs Skyrocketing

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

If you are a homeowners in Florida, you must be feeling the pain right now.  Most insurance premiums in the state have doubled over the past decade.  A recent report that was offered by the AP noted that an average Florida homeowners is paying double the amount on premiums.  The doubling in price has occurred over the the last six years.  Does that mean your premiums will go another 30-40% over the next three or four years? I guess only time will tell, but in the meantime, it is best to be a savvy consumer.  Make sure you SHOP your insurance rates every year!


  1. Make sure you take off all unnecessary coverage. 
  2. Take a quick look at increasing your deductible.  (This isn't for everyone, but it will reduce your premium)  Make sure that you understand, the higher the deductible, the more risk you are going to take on claim.
  3. Ask your agent for all discounts.  (Especially if you are in Florida, make sure you ask for all home specific discounts)



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National Catastrophe Insurance Fund for Hurricane Sandy

Friday, November 9, 2012

Ponte Vedra, Florida -- We all know that hurricane Sandy earned the “Superstorm” nickname. The mixture of a hurricane and Nor’easter offered high winds and high water, flooding the majority of New York City, while erasing landmarks from North Carolina to New Jersey.  Typically, Florida is the state that gets hit with these types of storms, was the Northeast ready for a catastrophe of this magnitude?

Coastal cities and towns from West Virginia to Connecticut touched Sandy’s vigorous power, and in the coming weeks and months local residents will likely face another large problem: less accessibility of homeowners’ insurance and much higher premiums. America needs to start looking into offering national catastrophe fund to help relax future blows by spreading larger amounts of risk across all states, allowing for the “pre-funding” of future unknown disaster that reach our shores. 

This is for sure helpful for a state like Florida or other coastal areas, but imagines how such a plan sounds to paying taxes that aren’t affected by hurricanes, like “Sandy”. The real basic truth is that these other states are paying for natural disasters anyway, in the form of the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and state government post-disaster assistance.

Hurricane Sandy is just the most recent example of how hurricanes don’t always pick favorites. The cost of homeowner damage and lost business ranges from, depending on the forecaster, $10 billion to $50 billion, which will make Hurricane Sandy among the top four most expensive natural disasters on record. And who says “the big one” has to be a hurricane? We know that in 2011 alone, wildfires burned nearly 400,000 acres and caused $7 billion in damage in states like Texas, New Mexico, and Arizona. Upper Midwest and Mississippi River flooding combined totaled more than $6billion in damage, and deadly tornadoes ripped through the Midwest and Southeast causing $11 billion paid insurance damage.

What about tsunamis, earthquakes, and drought? No state is immune from natural disasters. If multiple states pooled their catastrophic risk, they would achieve an economy of scale and risk diversity that would effectively lower their cost of reinsurance in a way that states cannot achieve on their own.

In the sunshine state, “Florida”, we struggle tremendously with the availability and affordability of home quality Florida homeowners insurance, something our networks along the Gulf and sea coasts are already beginning to know too well. Pooling state resources under a national catastrophe fund model would, in essence, provide a backstop for all private insurance companies, and might lower rates for all homeowners.   That, in turn, would make the private home insurance marketplace more stable, add competition among insurers for non-catastrophic perils, and help prevent company insolvencies and marketplace disruption in the future.

All mathematicians know that the spreading risk is a proven economic principle that makes insurance more affordable and plentiful. While the definition of what constitutes a natural disaster is somewhat controversial, there is no question that some natural disasters will exceed the financial capacity of state funds. Only a program that is national in scope can generate enough capacity to cover the most costly disasters. A national catastrophe fund is long overdue, and Congress should put it in place.


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3 Reasons Citizens Loan Plan in Florida won't work

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Ponte Vedra Beach, FL -- We have been lucky in Florida lately, NO HURRICANES!  The risk is looking better for insurance companies and they are now lining up to purchase many Floridian homeowners insurance policies.   Applications are being filed as we speak to take over policies.  Will your policy be part of the Citizens take out program?

A new plan has been offered by the executive board of Citizens Property Insurance.  This proposal from the Florida insurance company of last resort might cause issues with the industry and taxpayers.

Last month, men and women on the board voted to award over three hundred million in low-interest loans to help small private insurance companies take on some of the risk.  These incentives needed to be large enough for some of the private sector carriers to get interested.  That’s a bunch of money to hand over to the marketplace that is hurting so vastly.  What do you think?

Here are three reasons why this is bad for the state of Florida and home insurance policy holders:

1. First, the incentives aren’t needed. Private insurance companies already plan to consider adopting in excess of 300,000 policies from Citizens the New Year alone - with no incentives. Consequently, handing out this incentive money, Men and women surplus - funds which will be needed in case your major storm hits - will likely be depleted for a bad one reason. Not to mention the policies and this includes proposed plan tend to be attractive to private insurers without incentives, because these are definitely some of Men and women best policies out of a risk perspective.

2. Second, this plan eliminates a level playing field for insurance carriers coming into the state of FL. The men and women on the board came up with the plan with no input by way of Legislature, that is a, or ratepayers, and plans to push it through no matter what public sentiment, and that is overwhelmingly resistant to the idea.

3. And third, virtually no insurance carrier in line to bring into play the policies continues to be audited in multiple years by regulators. Floridians can offer no assurances that these insurers - several of which have had massive underwriting losses during the last five years - are financially healthy enough to face up to storm losses.

Wouldn’t it be better to have open competition, so the healthiest insurers offering the top rated investor business plans to take advantage of policies?

Laboring under the Citizens Property loan program, private insurers could borrow as high as $50 million for 20 years any kind of low interest rate of 2 percent. In return, Citizens obligates the insurers to take the policies for only 10 years, and enables them to raise rates beyond 10 percent a year, after three years. Additionally, the diet plan fails to add in provisions for what happens in case your insurers encounter financial difficulties that hopefully will prevent them from repaying a loan.

What are your thoughts residing over this program?  Do you think this is good for the state of Florida and our taxpayers?  We would like you to give us your take on these low interest loans to private insurance companies already doing business in the Sunshine state. 


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Why Premium Rates Increase

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Getting an increase in your homeowners insurance rates is no fun.  We know that our clients need options when they receive a renewal with higher premiums.  Everyone knows that it is necessary for insurance companies to increase rates to maintain the ability to pay claims after a large catastrophic event occurs.  Are you looking for alternatives to large rate increases?  Call us at 800-554-9142 !

Insurance carriers that offer home coverage do not like to increases rates either, but it is a necessary evil that they must.  Premiums are affected by a variety of complex dynamics based in different geographic areas.  For example, rates might be going up in Florida due to a high number of sink hole claims, but California’s reason for rate increases might be due to earthquakes. 

Whatever the catastrophic event, hurricane, tornado, or an earthquake, it is great to understand in more detail why and how rates increase.  Check out what Joel Curran, from Tower Hill has to say, he offers the hows and whys of the “premium rate increase”.  See Tower Hill Insurance Company Video below:



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Premier Launches New Portal

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Jacksonville, Florida -- Did you see the latest release of www.PremierHomeownersInsurance.com?  Our leading Florida online insurance agency launched our new portal with a committment to our Internet customers.  Check out our new site today!

The upgrade is a response to requests by Premier customers for a more interactive experience in their evaluation of home insurance needs and purchase of insurance products. The end result is a site that goes beyond the fundamental online-quote function and gives homeowner insurance some practical context.

For example, besides offering Florida homeowners the latest insurance industry news across the state, it gives site visitors a state-by-state look at insurance issues. This can be important information for Floridians who are planning a move from The Sunshine State—or recently have moved to Florida and still have property elsewhere.

Read More at Yahoo News Today:  http://news.yahoo.com/premier-homeowners-insurance-extends-commitment-online-customers-070337307.html;_ylt=A2KJ3CRyPXRQvV8AJE7QtDMD



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Citizens to Private Insurance

Monday, October 8, 2012

Jacksonville, Florida -- Like lots and lots of other South Florida policy holders covered by state-run Citizens Property, I got a letter a while back because of a private insurance carrier informing me make use of them be taking over my policy in 30 days - unless I opt out.  Have other Florida homeowners had this same issue?

Sounds great, I thought, when I received the letter from Tampa-based Homeowners Choice Property & Casualty. Especially after hearing that Citizens ended up being approved for rate hikes averaging above 10 percent next year.

Florida Consumers can't make a confident decision, because these carriers won't answer the actual largest question - about all of the cost of contracts every time they renew next year.

When I called Homeowners Choice, a customer service representative explained my current Citizens policy would remain in force until it lapses next July. She said the business enterprise would mail me a renewal offer in May, but that she couldn't say exactly what the premium might possibly be. Nor could she necessary under some company's current rates to find a policy comparable to my Citizens coverage. And he or she didn't know but if your company has put setting yourself up for a rate increase for next year.

What type system is that? Do you really want to try and find a car or a home with no knowledge of the actual going rate?

My answer: Thanks, but I’ll have to pass on this option.

On Saturday I spoke to company CEO Paresh Patel, asking how consumers should decide with such limited information. He said he understood the concerns, but there is much uncertainty for next year and the carriers aren’t going to try and mislead consumers. The way in which, he was quoted saying, "Our rates are on the same as Citizens." He was quoted saying the company has asked to have an average 6 percent rate increase, but state regulators could require more.

Are you frustrated with the way Citizens conducts business in Florida?  Remember, they are the carrier that is a last resort, and they seem to do the best they can under the circumstances.  If you received this infamous letter from Citizens, comment on our Blog today and let us know how you really feel about this situation.


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Allstate and Universal offer Rate Increases

Saturday, October 6, 2012

JACKSONVILLE, FL - Looks like home insurance rates are going up again for Universal Property, along with Allstate Insurance. 

Government regulators have approved rate increases topping 7 percent for just two more home insurers: Universal and Allstate.

That's from some 5 percent increase on home insurance policies for State Farm and another hike expected this week for state-backed Citizens Property Insurance Corporation, Florida's largest home insurance carrier.

Universal, the state's second-largest insurance carrier associated home owners, was granted an average of 23 percent in rate increase, bringing the vast majority of the cost due to the homeowner policies to $2,170, said the DOI.

Allstate's Castle Key Insurance was given an average 14.9 portion increase, and also also of which Fortress Key Indemnity some kind of typical 8.2 percent increase, bringing their average policy premiums to about $1,400 a year. Allstate's units combined rank mainly because the state's No. 4 insurer after State Farm, Florida data shows.

Amounts paid upon individual policies will fluctuate in all geographic areas.  Southern area Fla homeowners generally pay a lot more money as a result higher hurricane risk than many other parts of the state, experts say.

Increases also vary based on the type of policy you have. As an illustration, Castle Key Insurance was granted a 12.9 increase on insurance for homes along with a 34.1 percent raise on policies for condominiums.

Insurers assume increases tend to be needed, because companies are having to pay out a lot more in claims and costs when compared to they how much they are collecting in premiums. One reason: a rise in fees for re-insurance, the insurance that the companies buy from global firms.

Re-insurers tend to be charging more soon after costly catastrophes globally, such has last year's tsunami in Japan, based in the Insurance Information Institute, an industry trade  group.

Allstate's Insurance coverage had sought for a 32.7 percent increase, all the while Castle Major point Indemnity had asked to enjoyment in a 21.9 percent raise.

Allstate's units also had been given rate increases on home insurance coverage final 12 months as effectively because in 2010. Castle Major point Insurance received a 14.5 percent raise last year and 18.7 percent in 2010. Castle Key Indemnity was approved with regard to 35.7 percent hike not too long ago and 17.8 percent raise in 2010.

Meanwhile, Residents is now asking as for an eleven percent raise, plus affirmation to shed some 300,000 policyholders to slash its risk.

However Residents' plans are to cut out nearly one out of four existing customers and trigger questions Monday from The boy wonder Wescott, the state insurance consumer advocate.

Inside related with a letter to Residents' chief, she asked for specifics in how People evolved its figures on shedding existing customers and requested some alternate scenarios.


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Home Warranty Policy

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Your home insurance policy covers you for water damage or if a fire burns down your house, but for rare occurrences like an electrical problem or a broken appliance, you will have to pay for that out of your own pocket.  Does that seem fair to you?

Many homeowners purchase a home warranty policy to cover them for the little items that break down in your house.  I know last year my air handler on the AC unit went haywire.  I didn’t have a home warranty policy and paid nearly $500 out of my pocket for this repair.   It probably would have been a smart idea to purchase this low cost insurance plan, which might have had a premium of about $200 per year.  This type of policy covers you for items like AC unites, home electrical, and hot water heaters. 

 “It simplifies the cash management and process of getting them fixed,” says Thomas Rusin, chief executive officer at Home Serve, a home emergency insurance provider. “When you walk into the kitchen and there’s water running out of the sink most people think ‘I don’t have the time for this and how much is it going to cost?’ For around $100 we take care of all that.”

Next time something breaks down in your house you should contemplate purchasing a home warranty policy through a company like Home Serve.  Most homeowners don’t understand that they are responsible for taking care of the outside line that connects many of the utilities from the street to their home.  When something like a big pipe running through your yard bursts, you are for sure looking at thousands of out-of-pocket expenses.  You should inquire about this added coverage for your home.  It is worth the money. 

Let us know what you think.  Have you ever purchased a home warranty policy?  If so, lets us know how it paid when push came to shove. 


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Citizens Rates on the Rise

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

ORLANDO, FL – It looks like Citizens Property Insurance Corporation is looking to get some help from local Florida based carriers.  Insurance regulators in Florida approved a 10.8 percent increase in premiums this week.  We are likely to see many policyholders forced out of the Citizens coverage due to such a high rate increase.  Local private insurance companies are sending “takeout” proposals to over 200,000 policy holders statewide.

We now know that most Floridians insured with Citizens will need to pay an additional $250 annually when the next renewal rolls around.  Depending on the area of the state, you could potentially see even larger rate increases that were approved by the Florida Office of Insurance Regulation. (Floir)

If you live in the Tampa area or anywhere in Pasco or Hernando counties, you will see large increases in sinkhole premiums.  Hillsborough county residents will see the highest sinkhole premium increase and will be close to 50 percent.   The average homeowners insurance policy holder will see anywhere from $100 to $400 more in premiums in these areas for this upcoming year. 

“This is the mentality of Tallahassee — raise rates as high as you can, force people out,” said Sen. Mike Fasano, R-New Port Richey, who has criticized Citizens’ board for unilaterally overhauling the state’s largest insurer. ”Citizens should not be granted any rate increase because they have already given themselves rate increases through the back door.”

Over the past year, Citizens Property Insurance Corp. has increased premiums, reduced various coverage’s, and took away man discounts to Florida policyholders.  They are the state’s insurance company and are doing the best they can to keep premiums in check, but the Sunshine State is very difficult to insure homes with affordable premiums.  They believe their rates are below market value and if that next big storm hits, taxpayers will need to go back to the bank. 

What do Floridians think?  Does Citizens offer homeowners fair rates?


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