Safeco Stops Writing New P/L Property Policies in Fla.; Will Stop Renewing Them in 2006

July 26, 2005

As of July 26, Safeco stopped writing new personal property policies in Florida and has notified the Florida Office of Insurance Regulation that at the beginning of 2006, it plans to stop renewing personal lines property policies held by current personal property customers.

Safeco represents 0.6 percent of the Florida personal property market—approximately 30,000 customers, according to Jim Swegle, Safeco’s vice president of Personal Lines Property.

“After months of careful consideration, we concluded that Safeco cannot effectively compete in Florida’s unique and complex personal property market with our standardized product approach,” Jim Swegle, Safeco’s vice president of Personal Lines Property said. “We decided instead to direct our focus and resources on growing our personal auto, specialty and business insurance lines in the state.”

“Given our relatively small share of the Florida homeowners market, we don’t expect our decision to have a broad impact,” he said. “Our top priority is giving our agents and customers the time they need to secure new coverage with other companies.”

This decision will apply to all of Safeco’s residential property policies, including homeowners, dwelling fire, renters and condominium insurance. These lines represent about one-eighth of Safeco’s business in Florida. The company will continue to focus on growing its other personal lines products — auto, watercraft, recreational vehicles, motorcycle and umbrella insurance — as well as commercial insurance policies in Florida. Since 2002, Safeco has doubled its number of personal auto insurance customers in the state.
Safeco sells its products through independent distributors who represent multiple insurance companies.

“This decision does not change Safeco’s commitment to providing personal property lines customers with the best possible claims service,” Jim Arciere, Safeco’s vice president of Personal Property Claims added. “We take great pride in serving the people of Florida. Our claims professionals are working closely with hurricane victims and will continue to do so until the claims adjustment process is completed.

“Whether customers already have claims with us, or have new covered losses before their policy expires, we will be there to help them through the claims process,” he said.

Safeco will continue to station claims professionals in Florida, and its National Catastrophe Team is available to provide additional on-the-ground support as needed to expedite customer claims.
In addition, if customers suffered a loss during one of the 2004 hurricanes or Hurricane Dennis and repairs have not yet been substantially completed, their policy will not be non-renewed until 90 days after the repairs have been substantially completed, in compliance with Florida law.

Safeco, in business since 1923, is a Fortune 500 property and casualty insurance company based in Seattle. The company sells insurance to drivers, home owners, and small- and medium-sized businesses through a national network of independent distribution partners.

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