Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Like a Bad Neighbor, State Farm Picks Up Its Toys and Leaves Town

State Farm will no longer insure homes in Florida.

The decision by State Farm Florida comes two weeks after state insurance regulators rejected the company's request to raise rates by more than 47%. The decision means State Farm Florida - a subsidiary of national insurance giant State Farm Mutual - will no longer renew policies for its roughly 1.2 million customers in the Sunshine State.
This is crummy news for people like my friend Alanna, who has been a State Farm customer for (I presume) years and years. State Farm considered Alanna and hubby good neighbors when it wanted their business. Not so much now.

(Never trust your neighbors. That's what I always say. You would, too, if you lived on my street.)

Homeowners insurance has been a contentious issue in Florida for some time. I've been waiting for the axe to fall on me, too. Instead, my carrier, Nationwide, is cancelling my existing policy come the next renewal date and replacing it with Something Else. Sure, they've told me what, in detail, but do I understand it? Of course not. But I feel confident that it's not a better deal for me.

Incidentally, after almost 33 years, I need to get busy on filing my first claim, ever, on my homeowner's insurance. I'm pretty sure this is a covered issue. Last summer one of my five-story-high pines was hit by lightning, and it is now dead. When it falls, as it eventually surely will, it will be bad news for either me or my neighbor, and definitely for my insurance company. So I need to swallow hard, brace for paying the deductible and whatever other costs the insurance company will wiggle out of covering, and file the claim and get the tree removed.

Because Nationwide might not be my good neighbor forever.


Anonymous said...

Ironically, hubby and I dared not change our auto insurance to cheaper ones in case State Farm would drop our house insurance. I shall surely drop the auto insurance with them now! Our agent lives in a house with a garage the size of our entire house, and now I know why!


Anonymous said...

A friend once related to me something said to her by her own agent: "Insurance isn't pretty."

Wow. Has any other major insurer just exempted itself from an entire state like this?

Bitty said...

Phil, I don't know if other insurers have completely bowed out elsewhere (or even here), but it's been threatened against Florida for ages. Many people already turn to a state-run (I think) insurer because the big boys won't insure a lot of us.

Some time back, Nationwide did drop a lot of "riskier" properties. I just happened to have business at my agent's the same day that the news story broke. My agent (one of his right-hand women, actually) knew exactly as much about it as I did. She was upset because she had several rental properties insured with Nationwide and didn't know if she would still have insurance or not.

Alanna, I know what you mean about the car insurance. Exactly what you mean. I stay with Nationwide auto for exactly that reason.

Look what your loyalty got you!

kkryno said...

Amazing how all the corporations have no trouble scooping money out of your pocket each month; yet when the brakes get thrown on their projected profit, they take their ball and go home.

It's just a larger version of the file a claim/raise payment for coverage game that they have gotten away with for way too long!

Can't we come up with a better solution to insuring people than this legalized extortion?

Bitty said...

Vikki -- funny that you called it legalized extortion! In the first version of the post, I called it legal blackmail! (Pay us or else...)

Your word is probably more accurate.