As Tropical Storm Colin leaves a soggy calling card, Tower Hill Insurance says it is offering flood insurance policies up to $5 million in coastal counties, well above the standard $250,000 available from the National Flood Insurance Program.
“Our first-year premium target is $10 million,” president Don Matz said. Palm Beach is one of the counties where the company believes it can make inroads because of better models, better understanding of risks and a higher comfort level from reinsurers that back up Florida carriers, he said.
The Gainesville-based company’s initiative to offer a “stand-alone flood policy” — not just coverage supplemental to an NFIP policy — comes amid efforts in Florida to get more private companies to offer alternatives to the federal program.
“Only one-third of Florida residents have flood insurance, leaving $55 billion of property uninsured and many at risk for losing their most valuable possession, their home,” Tower Hill’s website notes.
The coverage itself is provided by a “surplus lines” company whose rates are not regulated by the state, with claims not covered by a Florida back-up fund if the insurer fails — though it’s a pretty well-known name in the insurance world.
“The Tower Hill Flood Program is available exclusively through Lloyd’s, an Excess & Surplus Lines carrier, which holds a Financial Strength Rating (FSR) of ‘A’ by A.M. Best Company,” according to the company.
Tower Hill says the coverage offers “significant advantages” over standard NFIP policies:
- Building replacement cost up to $5 million, with contents up to $2.5 million
- Deductible options ranging from $1,000 to $50,000
- Option for replacement cost on contents
- Loss of Use $5,000
- One adjuster; streamlined claims process for wind and water damage
As for Colin and its aftermath, other insurers said they are assessing damage and urged policyholders to stay in close touch. Florida Peninsula Insurance Co. of Boca Raton warned of “fly-by-night” contractors and recommended customers contact their insurance company first.
“We want our policyholders to know we are prepared to assist with their claims, answer questions and assist with emergency repairs,” said Stacey Giulianti, Florida Peninsula’s chief legal officer.