New Florida property insurance company picks up
nearly 200,000 homeowners from insolvent companies
UPC is the tenth property
insurance company in Florida to go insolvent in the last three
Article Courtesy of Action News WFTS Tampa Bay
By Stassy Olmos
March 12, 2023
HILLSBOROUGH COUNTY — United
Property & Casualty Insurance (UPC) is the 10th property insurance
company in Florida to enter receivership in the last three years,
meaning they don’t have enough funding to pay out claims.
As a result, the Florida Office of Insurance Regulation (OIR) declared
the company insolvent last week.
In such a volatile market, it's hard to
imagine anyone would want to start a property insurance
company in Florida, but a new company in Tampa has already
become one of the bigger providers, taking on nearly 200,000
policies from companies going under. Lucas is the former
founder of Heritage Insurance, which is now a publicly
traded company with more than 150,000 residential policies.
He started Slide in March, just after St John's went into
liquidation. It was one of six companies to go bankrupt last
year, largely due to losses from lawsuits.
Stevens considers himself one of the lucky ones.
"We had a refrigerator with food in it for ten days
with no power and the smell, you know, you can imagine when you walk in,
it was unbelievable... It just permeated everything," Stevens exclaimed.
Hurricane Ian damaged his roof, and the smell from the fridge ruined
most of his furniture, but Slide replaced it within months.
Stevens said many of his neighbors are still waiting to even hear back
from their insurance companies regarding open claims.
"You can see the roof has been completely repaired," Stevens showed ABC
Action News. "There's a lot of tarps on the roofs down here, and mine's
completely done now."
"We were able to get out to losses faster, adjust those losses, and pay
insurance at a record rate," Lucas exclaimed. "We have the highest
closure rate of in claims in the state at around 94%, whereas the state
averages in the 70s."
Lucas said Slide is based on a "data-driven underwriting methodology,"
meaning they rely on artificial intelligence and machine-learning
techniques to process data and risk to make decisions on policies.
"It's a different approach than what you've seen on traditional
insurance. It's working so far, and we're pretty optimistic about the
future," he added.
Slide also got into the market knowing new legislation would be coming,
according to Lucas.
After two legislative special sessions on property insurance in 2022,
Governor Ron DeSantis signed a bill to eliminate fee multipliers and
curb runaway litigation.
On February 1, Slide picked up more than 72,000 policies from UPC,
giving another 18,000 policies the option to renew policies with them.
UPC had announced last year that they were pulling out of the state, but
they didn't make it that far.
ABC Action News In-Depth Reporter Stassy Olmos spoke with the Insurance
Information Institute in early February after hearing concerns from
homeowners who felt UPC was ignoring their claims. Spokesperson Mark
Friedlander said it was a sign that the company was not doing well and
OIR needed to look into it.
"They are dragging their feet on thousands of claims across the state.
We're hearing similar stories from homeowners and insurance agents about
no response from the company. Do they have the funds or don't they have
the funds?" Friedlander exclaimed.
On February 16, UPC entered receivership.
"I thought, 'Oh my God… you're a new company and you have a
once-in-a-lifetime catastrophe type of thing, and are they going to have
the reserves to pay for everything?'" Cape Coral Homeowner Dave Stevens
said he thought when he heard Hurricane Ian was barreling towards the
Central Gulf Coast.
His property insurance company, St. John's, had filed bankruptcy in
early 2022, and he was one of the 100,000 policies picked up by Slide.
"I knew that there were going to be mass insolvencies in Florida, so we
raised a tremendous amount of capital to really kind of capitalize on
market opportunities and provide new solutions to the homeowners who are
in need of those solutions," explained Bruce Lucas, CEO of Slide
The OIR referral document states that after millions of dollars in
underwriting losses over the years, the company did not have enough
funding to cover losses from Hurricane Ian.
OIR data shows that UPC had about 138,000 policies in force when Ian
made landfall in September.
"We really went through the UPC policies in a lot of detail, and a lot
of policies that they had had open damage claims from Hurricane Ian,"
Lucas explained. "So our underwriting manual won't let us take those
In an October release, UPC estimated about 30,000 claims with a loss of
a billion dollars from Ian.
This means that if they do end up in liquidation, these claims will go
to the Florida Insurance Guarantee Association (FIGA), a nonprofit
funded by insurance companies and taxpayers to handle claims of any
company that is liquidated.
FIGA CEO Corey Neal said that they are preparing in case they need to
assume UPC policies, adding that FIGA has about 66% of claims closed
from previous insolvencies, with about 8,000 still open.
In a statement, a spokesperson for OIR said that UPC had about 56,000
policies when they entered receivership.
"As part of UPC's orderly run-off plan, all affected policyholders
received at least 120 days notice of cancellation prior to UPC being
referred to receivership by OIR. OIR encourages consumers to contact
their agent immediately to begin finding alternate coverage to fit their
needs. Consumers with an open claim or unrepaired damage to their
property should contact their agent."
According to OIR's hurricane claims reporting, Ian resulted in about
475,000 residential damage claims; 75% are closed, leaving about 60,000
We reached out to UPC representatives prior to their insolvency but have
still not heard back.
As for Slide, their books are now open for new business, and Lucas said
their rates are in line with the rest of the market.
"I can tell you that we've received, just in the first few weeks,
somewhere in the neighborhood of 7-8,000 quotes from agents," Lucas
said. "We have a couple of thousand appointed agents right now, we have
several thousand more agents requesting an appointment because there's
nowhere else to go, and the legacy Florida carriers, they're going to
remain closed for a while. And so we're just happy that we are here.
We're at the front end of the new legislation."