To our valued customers,
Well we think it is fair to say that 2020 has certainly been a trying year for most of us. As an agency, we have had to make several adjustments to protect the health and well-being of our customers and employees.
To do our part in preventing the spread of COVID-19, we made the difficult decision to close our office to outside visitors. We are still open during our regular business hours, providing excellent customer service through phone calls and e-mails. Even before the pandemic, we were working towards increasing our digital capabilities and one result that has really paid off for us this year is our upgrade to a cloud-based phone system. This allows our remote employees to connect to our phone system in a seamless manner. We also switched to an auto-attendant phone system and added direct phone lines for our staff to help streamline the call-in process.
In addition to the pandemic related challenges, the State of Florida homeowners’ insurance industry is also going through its own crisis according to several industry experts. Due to a combination of factors, the homeowners’ insurance market has seen anywhere between 15 and 100 percent premium increases going into 2021. While as your insurance broker, we cannot control the rates we would like to try to explain from our perspective why premiums are increasing at such an alarming rate. We believe there are several material contributors to the large premium increases. The reasons include, but are not limited to, the following:
- Significant reinsurance rate increases incurred by the insurance carriers. Reinsurance is insurance for insurance carriers. Reinsurers generated their highest increase in renewal rates since 2006 to counter the trend of carrier losses and the frequency and severity of storm related claims. We know of several carriers who had their reinsurance increase by more than 20% on this year’s renewal. We have heard that some carriers experienced an increase of nearly 50%.
- Dramatic increase in litigation related expenses incurred by the insurance carriers (including litigation stemming from fraudulent activities where third party vendors get involved in homeowners’ claims). Insurance carriers have noted and complained about the increase in fraudulent or frivolous lawsuits and requests by attorneys for more compensation than what the repairs call for. Several industry leaders have stated that litigation in the state appears to be out of control. Some believe that litigation reform is necessary in order to limit litigation related costs.
- The cumulative impact of many homeowners’ insurance companies taking less premiums in prior years than needed. A couple of different rating agencies (Demotech, Inc. and A.M. Best) have stated this view.
As a result, many Florida homeowners’ insurance carriers are recording unprecedented financial losses and responding with double-digit premium increases along with more restrictive underwriting guidelines to help offset the material loss trends. It is our understanding that Florida homeowners’ insurance carriers are inspecting each new policy and will likely scrutinize it to determine if it is an acceptable risk. For example, we have experienced an increase of carriers requiring the insured to make repairs to or replace items, such as hot water heaters and roofs, after their post-bind inspection.
As we wrap up what may be one of the most challenging years ever, we want to thank you all for choosing The Ormond Agency as your insurance broker. We sincerely appreciate your business and we look forward to making your insurance transactions as smooth and informative as possible.
Happy New Year!
The Ormond Agency Staff