Florida Welcomes Insurers to Anxious Market

June 5, 2007

Eight new insurers entered the property and casualty insurance marketplace in Florida since January 1, 2007 according to the Florida Office of Insurance Regulation

The insurers represent a variety of insurance entities including surplus lines, alien, foreign, and domestic property and casualty insurers. Together these entities represent $1.2 billion in capital investment.

OIR called Ironshore Insurance Ltd., “the most dramatic new entrant” with nearly $1 billion in equity capital. The Bermuda-based surplus lines company will serve a critical demand, covering commercial risk with wind exposures in the catastrophe-prone coastal states. On May 15th, Ironshore also received approval to operate in South Carolina.

“It gives me great pleasure to introduce new insurers to the State of Florida,” said Insurance Commissioner Kevin McCarty, “These new companies not only provide much needed investment to our marketplace, but demonstrate the commitment of the industry to continue to conduct business in our state.”

Two other surplus lines companies have received approval to write in Florida. Delaware-based Praetorian Specialty Insurance Co. will write commercial multi-peril and allied lines, while the United Kingdom-based Arch Insurance Company Ltd., will target the commercial market by focusing on the energy risks of oil companies.

Praetorian Specialty has been licensed in Florida since 2001 as an accredited reinsurer, but has recently decided to expand into the surplus lines market.

Florida will also benefit from four new domestic insurers, and one domestic reciprocal. Modern USA Insurance Co.was admitted as a domestic insurer that will focus on mid-to-upper level homeowners insurance, while Olympus Insurance Co., has plans to begin writing homeowners policies by the fourth quarter of 2007.

In addition, American Keystone Insurance Co. will write homeowners insurance for values structured from $250,000 to $3 million; Homeowners Choice Property & Casualty Insurance Co. plans to take-out 15,000 to 20,000 policies from Citizens Property Insurance Corp. in July.

The only reciprocal company in this group of companies, Privilege Underwriters Reciprocal Exchange Inc., will target high net worth clients in Florida in the homeowners and personal auto lines.

Source: Florida Office of Insurance Regulation

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