Lives and safety are the most important considerations now with Hurricane Matthew at the door, but the moment of truth could be arriving for Florida’s largely unproven insurers, industry officials said Thursday.
“Hurricane Matthew will test Florida’s previously untested homeowner specialist insurers if there are significantly sizable losses,” said Christopher Grimes, Director in Insurance at Fitch Ratings. ‘With heavy reliance on reinsurance in the Florida property insurance market, traditional and collateralized reinsurance and catastrophe bond markets could also see substantial losses.”
American Integrity Insurance Co., which has about 235,000 customers and nearly 10,000 customers in the Palm Beach County area, has activated a 24-hour number to report damage at 1-844-MyAIIC1.
“We’re prepared to respond quickly and efficiently to our policyholders,” said Robert Ritchie, American Integrity’s president and CEO. “They’re counting on us to help them get their homes and lives back in order after a loss. Our company is financially prepared to weather the storm, with capital and financial partners who stand ready to serve a storm of any size. American Integrity Insurance is committed to expediting the recovery process for our customers.”
Smaller, Florida-based insurers now account for about 60 percent of the state’s property insurance market as national companies have pulled back since the last major storms of 2004 and 2005.
Read more about how Florida insurers are reacting to the storm in Palm Beach Post coverage here.
It’s too soon to know at this writing exactly where the highest winds will hit, but the Consumer Federation of America says be ready for up to 100,000 damage claims for more than $7.5 billion. For tips on how to be ready for claims, see its advice here.