The Hartford Dropping One-Third of Fla. Property Risks; Tower Hill Reconsiders

February 5, 2007

The Hartford Financial Services group says it will drop about 38,000 property insurance policies in the next 18 to 30 months, about a third of its business and personal policies in the state.

However, The Hartford’s 80,000 Florida participants in a separate program with the AARP will not be affected by the company’s decision to reduce its Florida property insurance exposure, said Joe Loparco, a spokesman at The Hartford’s Connecticut headquarters.

“By no means are we pulling out,” Loparco said.

The decision comes just after Gov. Charlie Crist and the Florida Cabinet enacted an emergency rule that freezes insurance rates and prevents cancellations through the end of the hurricane season, Nov. 30. Last month, the Legislature in special session passed a wide-ranging bill that is expected to result in lower rates.

Lawmakers were reacting to consumer complaints that rates for many properties have doubled or tripled in recent years after the state was hit by eight hurricanes in 2004 and 2005.

Separately, the president of Tower Hill Insurance Group Inc. said Friday that the Gainesville company has stopped writing new policies in 16 Florida counties. That will give the company an opportunity to evaluate the state’s new rules, company President Don Matz said. He said the company is not pulling out of the state, however.

“The irony here is prior to the legislative session, we were actually opening up a matrix to allow more new business,” Matz said. “We were being very bullish, but now we are taking a step back and reassessing our strategy.”


Information from: Tampa Tribune,

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