OVIEDO, Fla. - In the wake of Hurricane Ian, many have expected home insurance rates to rise. Some experts project up to a 40% increase in premiums. For one Oviedo man, the increase was almost triple that.
"It’s unsustainable to live in Florida anymore," said Richard Kurpiers.
Richard Kurpiers came to that unfortunate conclusion after he saw his home insurance premium increase 114%. The increase for the recent retiree has him considering a move out of state.
"I’ve been here for 40-plus years and if you were to tell me five years ago you’re going to become a Georgian I would’ve said no way," said Kurpiers.
Kurpiers home coverage is with Kin Insurance. They explained to him that the increase is due to two separate premium increases over the last year, inflation, and catastrophic storm damage seen statewide. Kurpiers started looking around for other policies but hasn’t had any luck.
"I’m 17 months into retirement, and I never thought I’d have to go back [to work] but here I am," said Kurpiers.
Kin Insurance details on their website five major reasons for premium increases. The largest being the lawsuits surrounding fraudulent claims that they say could increase premiums by an estimated $700 to $800 alone.
"This is all being driven by the litigious environment here in Florida," said Insurance Information Institute Spokesperson Mark Friedlander. "We would not be in this predicament if lawsuits filed against property insurance companies weren’t completely out of control."
Friedlander says that Florida makes up nearly 80% of all insurance lawsuits in the country. He says insurance companies are forced to charge policyholders to help cover their losses from lawsuits, storms, and the price of reinsurance.
"First is to stop assignment of benefits abuse and second is the excessive volume of lawsuits that are being filed against Florida insurance. We are all paying for that," said Friedlander.
The State Legislature tried to address the drastic rises in premiums during a special session in May. Although, local lawmakers admit not nearly enough was done.
"This has been a problem in Florida for a long time," said District 29 Rep. Scott Plakon. "We’re a very challenging state to begin with to insure with water on three sides and hurricanes fairly frequently."
The state will be going into another special session in December where Plakon hopes the legislature will be laser-focused on closing loopholes in the legal system.
"What I’ve seen is it’s not all of the plaintiffs lawyers. There’s a relatively small group that are involved in this that drive the costs up," said Plakon.