This week, the Florida Department of Insurance Regulation released its annual report on the insurance industry in Florida. Contained in that report is a breakdown of the profitability of property insurers from doing business in the State of Florida. While we know that insurers continually bemoan their inability to make a profit in Florida, and the word "crisis" is thrown about with regularity, the numbers indicate a stark contrast. Business for property insurers in the State of Florida is booming and robust.
The OIR Report sets forth the profit by line of business as detailed below:
Fire Insurance: Premiums $702,044,756; Net Profit After Dividends $448,803,211
Homeowners: Premiums $4,971,640,913; Net Profit After Dividends $1,666,262,684
Commercial Property: Premiums $639,877,984; Net Profit After Dividends $49,479,326
(As an aside, the report undercuts another "crisis" as it reveals that medical malpractice insurers in Florida received premiums $331,698,637, and earned Net Profit After Dividends $116,547,579.)
What a wonderful business model! All you have to do is demean lawyers, and cry "crisis" enough times, while asking legislators to "tweak" laws and "clarify" statutes. Then, with the stroke of a pen your costs are driven down by eliminating consumers’ ability to recover for claims; while at the same time you can increase your gross revenues by allowing unnecessary rate increases. All at the expense of Florida consumers.
This is precisely what we have with the current Senate Bill 408 which is now before the Florida Senate. SB 408 is the result of a make believe "crisis." SB 408 is nothing more than an insurance industry wish list. It skated through the Senate Banking and Insurance Committee without so much as a single comma being dislodged from the bedrock into which it was firmly embedded. SB 408 has absolutely nothing in it to benefit Florida consumers, and will simply allow insurers to increase their already bulging bottom lines.
If this bill is enacted, 1000’s of Florida homeowners will soon come to realize that when their life’s most valuable possession is damaged and destroyed they will have absolutely no way to force insurers to pay for the damage. Unlike a hurricane or a sinkhole, this will be a man made tragedy that will wreak havoc on the lives of unsuspecting Florida homeowners for years to come – while insurers’ profits will continue to rise.