REUTERS: Florida property insurers are jacking up rates by double-digit percentages, blaming the hikes on lingering damage from past hurricanes, a wave of litigation, and a law that encourages lawyers to sue by allowing courts to award them big fees. The rate increases in Florida, the third-largest property insurance market among U.S. states, are the highest in memory, according to some insurance agents and residents. One danger, they say, is that the new rates could make owning a home in Florida unaffordable. “I was flabbergasted,” said Karlos Horn, a 35-year-old law student who owns a four-bedroom, single-family home in Hendry County, Florida. He said his premium doubled to US$200 per month last August. That is equivalent to half of his US$400 mortgage payment and the largest increase in his five years as an owner. Florida’s property insurance market, which collected US$56.6 billion in premiums during 2019, is unique and covers complex risks including devastating hurricanes and the impact of climate change. Many insurers left the state after suffering big losses from hurricanes Katrina and Wilma in 2005, leaving about 60 small and mid-sized firms underwriting property policies there today. Although there were no major weather events last year, some insurers… Read full this story
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