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South Florida insurance rates remain relatively low

South Florida property owners haven't been hit with large insurance rate increases after enduring a rough 2017 hurricane season. Some insurance analysts had expected rates to jump between 10 percent and 20 percent in 2018, but rates in the Miami area have only spiked between 5 percent and 10 percent.

While the lower than expected insurance rate increases are a welcome surprise, they are still an unpleasant change of pace for many property owners. Until this year, rates in the southern portion of the state had been dipping annually. However, experts point out that it could be a lot worse. After Hurricane Andrew in 1992, rates jumped as high as 30 percent and many insurance companies went under.

Hurricane Andrew provided a teaching moment for Florida. After the disaster, the state instituted hurricane-resistant building codes, which have prevented property losses in other storms. Meanwhile, insurance companies have also changed the way they handle claims, requiring more information about a building's characteristics and history before they agree to cover a property. This has helped to stabilize rates, but it has also made it more difficult for some people to get coverage.

Some property owners have all or part of their hurricane damage claims denied after a storm. When this occurs, it may be helpful to contact an attorney familiar with these types of matters. An attorney could review the details of the insurance policy and obtain independent assessments of a property's damage. This information could then be used to file an appeal on the client's behalf. If the claim is still denied, an attorney could take the case before a judge.

Source: Miami Today, "South Florida commercial insurance rates 'dodged bullet'", Marcus Lim, May 22, 2018

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