With the increase in frequency and intensity of hurricanes walloping Florida in recent years and other market pressures, homeowners have seen steep increases in property insurance rates ― but things should start to cool off in 2024, executives with insurance company Brown & Brown said this week.
“I have never seen anything like we had in 2023 … Last year we saw unprecedented increases in rates,” said Steve Farmer, executive vice president and profit center leader of Brown & Brown of Florida.
A driving factor behind those changes?
“The carriers that we had traditionally purchased property insurance from decided that they didn’t want to participate in the state of Florida any longer or in a minimal amount, and when you have that phenomenon happen, it completely drives your terms and conditions and your rates,” Farmer said.
Farmer and Justin Anselmo, vice president of Brown & Brown of Florida, shared a “2024 Property Marketplace Update” at the Roundtable of Volusia County Elected Officials on Monday at the Daytona Beach International Airport.
The gathering included elected officials and staff from the Volusia County government and municipalities across the county.
The event also included a presentation by Volusia County officials about a countywide vulnerability assessment. The project will examine the weaknesses of the county’s “critical assets” such as evacuation routes and wastewater treatment facilities and how to strengthen them against flooding and sea level rise.
The project is being funded through the state’s Resilient Florida Program. It will open the door for grant funding for projects “to adapt critical assets to the effects of flooding and sea level rise,” according to the county.
Disasters have had a major impact on property insurance.
The Brown & Brown presentation pointed to a variety of pressures on the market. Among other influences, the frequency of disasters costing at least a billion dollars and the severity of disasters have both been increasing, Anselmo said. And more people have been moving to Florida and building houses, which contributes to the damage totals when a storm comes through.
“2022 … marks the eighth consecutive year (2015-2022) in which 10 or more separate billion-dollar disaster events have impacted the U.S,” according to the presentation.
The average frequency of billion-dollar-disaster events per year in the U.S. from 2018-2022 was 17.8. From 1980-2022, the annual average of such disasters was 7.9 events per year.
Hurricane Ian was the fourth-costliest hurricane in the country, causing about $100 billion in damage, according to Brown & Brown’s presentation.
Some people in Volusia County have seen very sharp increases in their property insurance rates. Condo owners on the coast saw a 563% increase for Marbella at 3343 S. Atlantic Ave., a bill that arrived after tropical storms Ian and Nicole in December of 2022.
What’s ahead for property insurance?
“Some new capacity is projected to enter the market. It’s too early right now to know exactly what impact that’s going to have,” he said. “We have heard first quarter and January renewals have been more positive than last year. We have seen some accounts have rate increases of anywhere from 5-10%. Some have even been flat, which is a huge difference from what we were facing last year.”
Anselmo also said, “We’re going to see considerable rate moderation, is how I would put it, in 2024 compared to what we had last year.”
Terms and conditions such as deductibles are expected to remain steady, he said.
DeBary mayor says she hasn’t seen relief
A local official said she’s still facing a big increase this year.
DeBary Mayor Karen Chasez said she got a notice about her personal property insurance, which is up for renewal in the first quarter of this year, and it went from $10,000 a year to $14,400. It was $3,000 a year four or five years ago, she said. Her home has had no claims since it was built 15 years ago and a roof with 30 or more years left on it, she said.
“So there are still some difficult times for us, but I think this is a helpful framework, and I’m glad to see that we’re seeing some positive movement,” she said.
Clinton Mora is a reporter for Trending Insurance News. He has previously worked for the Forbes. As a contributor to Trending Insurance News, Clinton covers emerging a wide range of property and casualty insurance related stories.