Customers for the now-defunct St. Johns Insurance Company have found a new home at Slide.
The insurance company has absorbed approximately 140,000 policyholders left in the lurch when St. Johns went into receivership last month. St. Johns had been the state’s eighth-largest insurer, with 170,000 policies in its portfolio at its peak.
The company was one of several to go belly up last month. On the same day St. Johns’ financial rating was downgraded by Demotech, Avatar Insurance also caved.
At the time of St. Johns’ exit from the market, industry onlookers feared many of its policyholders would have to turn to Citizens Property Insurance Corp., the state-backed insurer of last resort
Citizens’ policy count recently crossed 800,000 — more than double nadir — and is increasing by about 5,000 new policies each week.
Experts have warned that the fall of any two traditional property insurers, such as St. Johns, could cause Citizens to cross 1.5 million policies. With that many policies, a major hurricane or natural disaster would tank the state’s finances.
Enter Slide, which intercepted the policies before they fell into Citizens’ portfolio and provided St. Johns policyholders with much-needed relief.
Since the company assumed control of their current policies — offering the same coverage for the same premium — homeowners will not have to seek out and pay for new insurance while they wait for refunds for the payments they made to St. Johns.
Slide was perhaps the only insurer operating in the state with the financial health to take on St. Johns’ policy count, and has received support from the Florida Association of Insurance Agents, which views the transaction as in the best interest of policyholders.
Other companies were interested cherry-picking the St. Johns portfolio, snagging 10,000 to 20,000 policies, which would have substantially raised the aggregate risk for the remainder of St. Johns’ portfolio, all of which would have gone to Citizens.
Slide was the only company that presented a viable offer to assume the full policy count and its approval would have positive implications for the broader insurance market.
The Florida Insurance Guaranty Association approved a $190 million assessment on Florida homeowners after the fall of St. Johns and other, smaller insurers. Combined with an assessment approved last year, FIGA has greenlit $358 million in assessments in less than six months.
While a bitter pill to swallow, insurance experts say the most recent assessment would have been much higher if Slide had not taken over St. Johns policies.
Slide has also offered coverage to the 15,000 St. Johns customers who had their policies cancelled ahead of the company entering receivership. Those customers had previously been rebuffed by other private insurers.
Still, the property insurance market isn’t out of the woods.
End-of-year financials show Florida homeowner insurance companies lost another $1.5 billion in 2021, with Progressive leading the pack $250 million in the red. That total does not include losses associated with St. Johns, however softened they are by the Slide transaction, nor does it include losses from Avatar entering receivership.
The losses could potentially cause a domino effect of major companies exiting the market.
Despite the dire circumstances, property insurance reforms appear to have died in the waning days of Session due to differences between the House’s and Senate’s approach to roofing insurance.
The Senate’s property insurance bill (SB 1728) contains a slew of changes aimed at reducing lawsuits and limiting costs related to roof damage claims. The most debated provision would allow insurers to limit coverage to the “stated value” of a roof, rather than on a depreciating scale over time and allows insurers to require a special roof deductible of up to 2% of the coverage limits.
This has been a non-starter in the House, with House Speaker Chris Sprowls saying he worries low- and fixed-income homeowners would be unable to afford to fix their roofs if they had such a policy.
“I want to make sure people are compensated,” the Palm Harbor Republican said last month. “If you get a hurricane, and you’ve got a senior citizen on a fixed income, I am cognizant of the fact that they may not be able to go and get a huge roof.”
March 11, 2022 at 11:21 am
This reminds me of that movie…Titanic. It’s like shuffling the deck chairs on the Titanic. Never heard of Slide. They just got a big gift from the state of Florida, and they will suck the money out of the company until they find themselves in the same financial problems that St Johns and Avatar were in, along with a bunch of other Florida domestic insurers. Meanwhile, the legislature is about to do nothing in regards to property insurance reform, and the property insurance crisis in Florida will get worse. Tell me why I’m wrong….
arthur d krause
March 12, 2022 at 5:18 pm
Arthro, you are right on…But…But.. if the insurer actually charged what was fair based on real replacement/repair costs..in these times of $15 hr hamburger flippers, and $8 2×4,s..who could pay the premiums?? Nope roll a big bong and believe you are insured..But the state boys want to be reelected…is that wrong??? Always remember the goverment will protect you…
March 12, 2022 at 5:14 pm
How many insured persons were notified this was going on?
Nancy K Renz
March 13, 2022 at 6:52 pm
Not me. I have been with St Johns for 10 years.. never filed a claim. This past November my policy came due for renewal with a $1000 premium increase making it $4200. They knew darn well they were going belly up but still took my usual money and asked for more. I am terrified that I won’t be able to find an affordable replacement
March 13, 2022 at 10:03 pm
Same here. I just got a letter about this yesterday. I knew nothing about this, nothing was said on the news or anything. I have been with St. John’s since 2007, I had filed 3 claims, most recently one to replace my roof. I got my renewal premium and it was literally $700 more than the prior year. I too am worried about what the future will look like, especially if we experience storm damage this upcoming hurricane season. I know nothing about Slide and am very very nervous about dealing with them as well as being able to find a new insurer next year when my coverage ends.
March 14, 2022 at 4:53 pm
I too just received a notice of the insurance company change and am quite worried about finding a new company I can afford. Living on Social Security with no other income may make it impossible to keep my home of 35 years. Although I have several months to look for a new company is just another year of worry.
March 14, 2022 at 7:17 pm
I just a letter today 14 March notifying my policy has changed to Slide I don’t know anything about this company and find it odd that this story was not even reported on the news. I pray and hope we don’t experience any storm damage this year and have to file a claim. Our elected leaders need to fixed the issues with these insurance company making money on low income individuals but when it’s time for repair they will not shell out money for damages
Nancy K Renz
March 14, 2022 at 8:36 am
I tried to get a quote from Liberty Mutual and State Farm but neither are writing policies for my zip. If anyone has suggestions please let us know. I am terribly worried about what will happen when my current policy with Slide ends.
March 14, 2022 at 4:55 pm
Try KIN Insurance
March 16, 2022 at 4:59 am
I did, they were 1500 more than slide.
March 14, 2022 at 7:56 pm
I myself just got notice in the mail today. My premium doubled last year and I had a feeling something was up. I ended up taking it that the cost of building materials have sky rocketed and that was the reason and left it at that. Now I am good until September and Slide stated in the letter they would continue my coverage and offer a new policy when my St. Johns runs out. I saw trouble coming with all these new roofs being put on and insurance companies were covering the cost even though fraud was running wild. In 2016 I put a new metal roof on my home knowing there would be trouble ahead when insurance companies were demanding people have new roofs put on their homes if the homes roof was 10 years old or they would be dropped. I will keep my eyes open for other companies but hope Slide will be comparable in coverage as well as cost.
March 15, 2022 at 10:10 am
Well I got my new declarations from Slide, and on the same day I got my cancellation notice they wont renew me in October. No reason why. My agent is trying to tell me Citizens is my only option. That can’t be right. I had one claim in 7 years and she tells me no one will touch me as a result. So you pay for insurance but you cant use it or your penalized. We need some serious reforms here in Florida.
March 15, 2022 at 8:19 pm
My insurance went up by almost 2000 and this is after making several upgrades and hurricane proofing my house and new roof. This to me was purposely done and is really unfair that we we duped to premium increases when they knew they were in financial problems. This is totally unethical. Why don’t the lawmakers protect homeowners????
March 18, 2022 at 4:16 pm
Never knew anything about St Johns going under—Hope SLIDE provides the same coverage—Too bad our politicians don’t do something when they knew about a company’s financial condition
I never made a claim but the premium seems always going up.
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