Allstate seeks property insurance rate decrease of 14% statewide

Article Courtesy of The Sun Sentinel

By Kathy Bushouse
Published March 13, 2007

Allstate Floridian Insurance Co., the state's third-largest home insurer, wants to cut its property insurance rates by an average of 14 percent statewide.

But Allstate Floridian's proposed premium cuts are far less than the estimated reduction of 24 percent Insurance Commissioner Kevin McCarty said recently that the state's property insurers should be able to shave rates. Allstate Floridian will have to justify why the decrease it plans - and the proposed 13 -percent decrease by its subsidiary, Allstate Floridian Indemnity Co. - is lower than the state's estimate.

Company spokesman Adam Shores said Monday the figures are based on Allstate Floridian's risk exposure, and "given the state of the overall [insurance] market, we feel that this is the appropriate rate which will help us move forward." County estimates of Allstate Floridian's rate decrease weren't available Monday.

With its rate request filed, Allstate Floridian - the state's third-largest insurance company - is now free to proceed with plans to drop 106,000 home and condo customers and offer them coverage with a new insurer, Ormond Beach-based Royal Palm Insurance Co.

Allstate Floridian is the second of the state's five largest insurance companies to cut its rates based on Florida's new insurance law. Nationwide Insurance Co. of Florida, the state's fourth-largest insurer, last week requested a statewide average decrease of 4.6 percent on its premiums. Under the new law, all of the state's property insurers have until Thursday to submit rate reduction plans to insurance regulators.

The company was temporarily prohibited from shedding policies under a Jan. 31 emergency order from Gov. Charlie Crist and the Florida Cabinet. But now that Allstate Floridian has asked to lower its rates, it is free to conduct business as usual, and that includes not renewing customers' policies.

Shores said any customers who already have received notices from the company that their policies won't be renewed would be issued new letters, telling them they have 100 days until their policies expire.

He wasn't sure Monday when those letters would start hitting customers' mailboxes.

If approved by the state, the revised Allstate Floridian rates will show up on policies issued on or after June 1. The Office of Insurance Regulation is still reviewing Allstate Floridian's request, department spokesman Bob Lotane said.

Since neither Allstate Floridian nor Nationwide's requests match the state's estimated savings, the companies will have to show why they're different.

"Are these numbers going to stand up to review? We don't know that," Lotane said.

Gov. Charlie Crist also wasn't worried that the companies' savings didn't match state estimates. Of Allstate Floridian's proposed 14 -percent cut, Crist said, "when was that ever heard of?"

"It's a new day. It may not be 20 percent or 15 percent, but a 14 percent reduction? ..... I'm delighted. I'm not going to complain about rates going down."