Florida’s Insurance Crisis Also Hitting Businesses

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There’s more bad news on the insurance front. State Farm, Florida’s second-largest insurer, says a massive rate hike it is requesting from Florida insurance officials will actually need to be even higher.

State Farm had been looking for an average rate hike of more than 70 percent statewide. Now the company plans to come back at a later date with an even larger request. Florida’s insurance crisis is now starting to hit the state’s business community just as hard as its homeowners.

Businesses of all kinds are starting to feel the pinch of Florida’s tight insurance market. Policies are being cancelled and business owners are having trouble getting coverage at all.

The crisis has even hit the posh headquarters of one of the state’s largest business lobbying groups. Associated Industries President Barney Bishop told us AIF just got a non-renewal notice on one of its own buildings.

Bishop says Florida’s insurance crisis could mean layoffs or worse for smaller companies.

“It means they may not be able to grow, it means they may have to restrict themselves, actually constrict themselves, make themselves smaller – it may mean for some businesses they have to go out of business.”

One insurance agent tells NewsChannel Seven business rates have gone up 200 to 300 percent just over the past year, and that’s if you can even find coverage.

Insurance Agent Doug Croley says the business community is often overlooked when we talk about Florida’s insurance problems. But anything that hurts business has a trickle-down affect.

“These businesses have to absorb these increase in their own property insurance and then attempt to pass these on to their customer base.”

Bottom line, whether you own a house or not, the high cost of insurance in Florida is going to hit you in the wallet one way or another.

Some business experts think Florida over-regulates its insurance industry, and that’s preventing more companies from writing policies here. Look for a push from the business community for de-regulation in next year’s legislative session.