October 22, 2019 The Apex Disaster Team

Home insurance rates climb, along with lawsuits.

Article By Ron Hurtibise | South Florida Sun Sentinel

It’s likely you received another rude surprise when you opened your latest home insurance bill this year.

Rates for most Florida homeowners Florida homeowners are continuing to rise despite reforms enacted last spring by the state legislature that were intended to curtail abusive lawsuits by third-party repair contractors and their attorneys.

Instead of decreasing, the number of lawsuits filed against insurance companies so far in 2019 has increased 16.8% over the same period in 2018, according to an analysis of lawsuit notices in the state’s Legal Service of Process database. This year’s total to date — 260,810 — is more than double the 126,011 filed in 2015, the analysis shows.

Rising litigation, along with costs from recent hurricanes and increases in the cost of reinsurance — or insurance that insurers must buy to ensure they can pay claims after major disasters — could prevent homeowners’ insurance costs from stabilizing anytime soon, the state’s insurance industry leaders are warning.

Through the first half of 2019, state insurance regulators approved rate hikes for 29 companies and were reviewing hikes requested by 27 more, according to Barry Gilway, president and CEO of state-owned Citizens Property Insurance Corp., Florida’s so-called insurer of last resort.

Increases have already been approved by some of the state’s largest private insurers such as Heritage Property & Casualty (statewide average 13.4%); Florida Peninsula (Elite, 7%; Preferred, 8.2%); Castle Key (4.1%); Omega (9.5%); and Tower Hill Select (4.8%).

Still under review are requests by Southern Fidelity (8.6%); Anchor (8.8%), Edison (22.4%); and Capitol Preferred (15.3%).

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