American National Leaves Florida

With hurricane season approaching, you may be pulling out your homeowner's insurance to check on your coverage. But one of the more popular insurance companies in our area won't be writing homeowner policies for Florida residents any longer.

You can add American National Insurance to the long list of insurance companies who no longer offer homeowner policies to Floridians.

The company has already sent out letters to current American National policy holders, informing them they'll have to find coverage elsewhere. This includes about 3,000 homeowners in Bay County and more then 22,000 statewide.

According to local American National agents, the company is not immediately dropping coverage on any of its policyholders.

If the policy comes up for renewal before this May, you'll have until 2007 to find a new insurance carrier. If the policy comes due for renewal after May 2006, then you need to contact your local insurance agent.

The company says it will provide its customers with information about alternative companies that can provide insurance coverage.

The big question for many is why. Apparently American National took a financial beating from hurricanes Katrina and Rita.

The company just released its fourth quarter earnings last week. Net income was $35.5 million. The stock price was around $1.30 a share. That's about half of what it was for the fourth quarter 2004.