TAMPA BAY, Fla. — The Florida Office of Insurance Regulation is referring Weston Property & Casualty Insurance to receivership, which means the company does not have enough funding to continue to cover its existing policies.
This comes one day after the state's rating agency, Demotech, withdrew the company's rating, going from an “A” exceptional to an “NR” or no rating.
OIR submitted an affidavit to be reviewed and approved by a Leon County court judge on August 2. The affidavit evidence reveals that OIR's financial concerns with Weston began in 2020 when they saw the company borrowing millions of dollars from Weston Insurance Management.
In May 2020, OIR required Weston to create a Capital Management Plan that would improve its liquidity and reduce the receivable amounts owed. They also required the company to submit monthly financial statements.
In 2021, Weston began dropping customers and merged two of their companies.
- Demotech withdraws 2 more Florida insurance company ratings
- Citizens Property Insurance rates will soon climb for thousands of Florida residents
- Citizens insurance denied expected rate increases as more companies halt new policies
- Florida Office of Insurance Regulation establishes temporary reinsurance program ahead of rating downgrades
- More evidence of Florida property insurance companies not insuring older homes
- 40+ companies file homeowners insurance rate decreases in order to use Florida's reinsurance assistance funds
The affidavit states that Weston's net underwriting losses for the 2021 year were $58,378,023; this is the funding allocated to paying more claims than expected — often the money insurance companies are paying in litigation and attorneys fees when sued.
Their net loss of income for the year was $57,681,556.
These together are significantly higher than their combined surplus for the year at $28,294,519 — which is the combined amount of money remaining after an insurer's liabilities are subtracted from its assets.
By June 2022, Weston notified OIR that "due to the cost and/or availability of reinsurance for its lower layer(s), Weston could not fully place its reinsurance program."
Not being able to obtain enough reinsurance was the fear for many in Florida's property insurance industry heading into the 2022 hurricane season. Experts have told us that reinsurers don't want anything to do with Florida because of the financial risk of fraudulent storm claims.
If the referral to receivership is approved, Weston will be the fifth Florida property insurance company to go into receivership this year.
Customers will have 30 days to find new insurance, and all existing claims will go to the Florida Insurance Guaranty Association, created by legislation, and handles the claims of insolvent property and casualty insurance companies. Policyholders with Weston are advised to contact their insurance agents.
The Insurance Information Institute told ABC Action News that the company has about 20,000 policies in Florida and is based out of the Miami area.
This comes on the same day Demotech withdrew ratings from Bankers Specialty Insurance And First Community Insurance, both of which are under the umbrella company of Bankers Insurance Group based in St Petersburg. Last week, Bankers announced that it was pulling out of the Florida homeowner’s insurance market at the end of July.
So far this week, Demotech has withdrawn ratings for four companies and downgraded three.