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Wave of private flood insurers enters Florida market

Posted On: May. 3, 2019 2:08 PM CST

Florida hurricane flooding

The number of insurers eligible to write private flood insurance in Florida has increased 45% over the past two years, according to Florida’s Office of Insurance Regulation.

As of April 30, the number of insurers offering private flood coverage rose to 29 from 20 in 2017, and they have written more than 62,000 personal primary flood insurance policies in the state, a 169% increase since June 2017, the office said Friday in a statement.

Private coverage is usually offered at prices similar to or lower than those of the National Flood Insurance Program, providing more consumer choice and an alternative to the federal program, according to the office.

“The 2017 hurricane season impacted virtually every county in Florida, with Hurricane Irma resulting in more than $8.6 billion in insured losses,” Jimmy Patronis, chief financial officer, said in the statement. “Last year, Hurricane Michael caused more than $6.3 billion in insured losses in the Panhandle alone.”

According to the NFIP, the average flood insurance claim payment in 2017 was more than $90,000, and a vast majority of homeowners are not adequately covered for flood damages, David Altmaier, Florida’s insurance commissioner, said in the statement.