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Marketplace Morning Report

State Farm drops policies to stay in Fla.

Gregory Warner Feb 1, 2010
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Bill Radke: The riskiest state in America for a property insurance company: Florida. That’s why so many big national insurers have been scaling back there. Today, State Farm of Florida will start dumping thousands of policies. Marketplace’s Gregory Warner reports other insurers see that move as an opportunity.


Gregory Warner: Insurance companies call them peaks: places prone to catastrophic weather where insurers risk paying out a lot of claims.

Bob Lotane: Like a place where you can get landslides and a place where you can get cyclones, that will be a peak. Florida is considered like a superpeak.

Bob Lotane is with the Florida Association of Insurance and Financial Advisors. He says to keep State Farm in Florida, state regulators agreed to let the company boost its premiums and drop its riskiest policies — 125,000 of them.

Bob Ritchie: Someone else’s crisis is someone else’s opportunity.

Bob Ritchie started American Integrity five years ago. That’s one of dozens of small insurers that have cropped up in Florida as big insurance companies have pulled back.

Ritchie: We don’t sit down and cross our fingers and toes and say, let’s just get lucky one more year. We clearly have strategic planning for when the wind blows and when it doesn’t blow.

Ritchie says American Integrity manages risk by charging higher premiums and keeping overhead low, and covering only a slice of the superpeak that is Florida.

I’m Gregory Warner for Marketplace.

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