Despite 10-year respite from hurricanes, Floridians are still pa - Fox29 WFLX TV, West Palm Beach, FL-news & weather

Despite 10-year respite from hurricanes, Floridians are still paying top dollar for insurance

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TAMPA, Fla. - If the Sunshine State gets through this season without a major hurricane, it will be 10 years since Florida was hit by a substantial tropical cyclone.

You would think our insurance rates would plummet, but in fact, Florida homeowners are still paying the highest insurance rates in the country.

The nightmarish storms of 2004 and 2005 caused billions in damage.  No one was surprised when insurance rates shot up the next year, but they've  didn't expect them to stay high.

"We haven't had a hurricane in 10 years. Rates ought to be coming down. We hear all these excuses or reasons from the insurance industry" says consumer attorney Sean Shaw.

Shaw doesn't buy the excuses.

Just a few years ago, the insurance industry was saying a spike in sinkhole claims explained the persistently high premiums.  Industry spokesperson Lynne McChristian admits that's no longer the case.

Now, there's another explanation.

"The cost of the materials used to rebuild a home, those are rising. And what insurance is based on for homes is the cost of rebuilding," McChristian said.

That's true, but in the absence of hurricanes, insurance companies haven't had to pay those higher rebuilding costs as often.

Many of Florida's biggest insurers have reported record profits, helped in part by this rare decade of calm in Florida.

But to the industry, the past doesn't seem to matter.

"What insurance has to do is to price for what is expected to happen in the future. And our history is a guide for that," said McChristian.
 
So, what's a consumer to do? Until state authorities start getting tougher on the insurance industry, the best you can do is aggressively shop -- get property insurance quotes from as many companies as you can to get the best rate.

Copyright 2015 Scripps Media, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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