DECEMBER 20, 2022 04:16 PM (EST)
Best’s Commentary: Florida Insurance Reforms: Long-Term Relief on Horizon; Near-Term Headwinds Remain
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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
OLDWICK - DECEMBER 20, 2022 04:16 PM (EST)
AM Best is of the view that the insurance reforms passed in Florida’s most-recent legislative special session will lead to much-needed relief to the state’s homeowners market. However, in the near term, capacity likely will remain limited with high reinsurance costs.
The new laws include the elimination of assignment of benefits and the one-way attorneys’ fees rule for property claims and reduces the amount of the time to 18 months in which a supplemental claim can be filed. In its Best’s Commentary, “Florida Insurance Reforms: Long-Term Relief on Horizon; Near-Term Headwinds Remain,” AM Best states that it considers these moves to be credit-positive for insurance companies operating in the state. Should the measures eliminating assignment of benefits and one-way attorneys’ fees for property claims prove effective, they could materially lower insurers’ defense and cost containment expenses. Additionally, the reduction in the amount of the time to file a supplement claim could alleviate concerns in the insurance-liked securities market about capital becoming trapped for long periods.
At the same time, judicial challenges to the new laws can be expected, and until the courts rule, national writers likely will remain wary of the environment in Florida. Additionally, local insurers are still heavily dependent on reinsurance, and any losses that exceed reinsurance coverage could lead to more insolvencies. Also, any increases in reinsurance costs could lead to increases in the primary market premiums charged to policyholders.
“Legislators have taken aim at elements influencing rising reinsurance costs, but how material the potential savings for insurers will be under the new legislation will depend on whether the private reinsurance market interprets the most recent actions as viable mitigations since the risk of catastrophe losses remain,” said Chris Draghi, associate director, AM Best.
The inherent risk profile of Florida property will continue to impact pricing and the balance of policies issued by the private market and Citizens Property Insurance Corporation, according to the commentary, although new restrictions on insureds obtaining coverage from Citizens should help move the market toward actuarially sound pricing.
“The five largest national homeowners insurers account for over 50% of the U.S. market outside of Florida, but just 15% of the market in Florida, demonstrating just how dire the situation is,” said Sridhar Manyem, senior director, industry research and analytics. “The legal environment and reinsurance market are two significant issues addressed by the special session that may ultimately make the market more attractive, but the effectiveness of reform will require time.”
To access the full copy of this commentary, please visit http://www3.ambest.com/bestweek/purchase.asp?record_code=327560 .
AM Best is a global credit rating agency, news publisher and data analytics provider specializing in the insurance industry. Headquartered in the United States, the company does business in over 100 countries with regional offices in London, Amsterdam, Dubai, Hong Kong, Singapore and Mexico City.