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Hurricane Ian Reignites Panic for Florida's Strapped Insurance Market

Florida has missed a direct hit from a hurricane for several years, but Hurricane Ian could prove to be a crippling blow for an insurance market that has lost six insurers this year alone

Florida Residents Prepare For Hurricane Ian
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Hurricane Ian is speeding toward the Gulf Coast of Florida at a perilous time for property owners in the state, who have been weathering an insurance crisis that the major storm could now exacerbate.

Numerous insurance companies in Florida have closed their doors in recent years in a slow-moving collapse for the industry, forcing rates to spike and property owners to turn to the state-owned insurer of last resort.

“Florida’s property insurance market was the most volatile in the U.S. before Hurricane Ian formed and will most likely become even more unstable in the wake of the storm,” said Mark Friedlander, a director at Insurance Information Institute in Florida.

Flaws in laws and regulations allowed insurers to be overrun by claims or operate with little financial responsibility and oversight. These issues have created problems in the market that have shepherded many insurers toward closure or left them on precarious financial footing.

A dozen insurance companies operating in Florida have gone out of business since January 2020. Six were deemed insolvent this year. Most recently, a court found that FedNat Insurance Co. would need to be liquidated because of ongoing financial troubles, leaving 56,000 policies canceled. 

Nearly 30 Florida insurance companies are on the state regulator’s “Watch List” due to financial instability, and a major storm could put them in a further tenuous position and make it harder for people to insure their homes and collect on claims.

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