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Lighthouse Homeowners insurance liquidation leaves customers in the lurch

Lighthouse Homeowners insurance liquidation leaves customers in the lurch
Posted at 6:04 PM, May 04, 2022
and last updated 2022-05-04 18:04:41-04

TAMPA, Fla. — Homeowners who are insured through Lighthouse Properties are scrambling to find coverage. Court documents showed the Louisiana-based company was placed into receivership on April 5th and was signed off to be liquidated on April 28th.

Julieanne Schmidt is one of the policyholders from Lighthouse. She has been through the wringer trying to find homeowners insurance. Two years ago when she was dropped by her then insurer, her agent found her Lighthouse Properties and now she's going through deja vu.

"To be without insurance, even a rainstorm can flood one of the historic homes pretty easily and has," Schmidt

She, along with thousands of other clients in Florida, received a letter from Lighthouse Properties on April 29th that notified them of the termination of their policies.

Chris Weaver with Florida Strategic Insurance in Pinellas Park said finding a new insurance company for coverage is not an easy task these days.

"We have been working behind the scenes for about two to three weeks already now," Weaver said.

The agency holds close to 1,900 policies through Lighthouse Properties and is working to find those clients new policies.

"A great majority of the home insurance carriers have tightened up their underwriting guidelines," Weaver said.

Weaver said that means companies are being picky on who they want to insure. Unfortunately for homeowners, the shopping options are tightening up too.

According to the state's Department of Financial Services, Avatar Property and Casualty Insurance Company along with St. Johns Insurance Company, Inc. were liquidated in the first four months of 2022. That means if homeowners are lucky enough to find a carrier to take on new customers they may only have one option to choose.

"Less carriers, less options. So, without that competition, you know, helping and driving down prices. I mean, yeah, naturally it is going to go up," Weaver said.

For Schmidt, she got lucky for now.

"There's not like a voluminous amount of insurers that you can go out there and say, 'Okay, I have these choices.' No. We have this, you know, so you look at the policy, you know, check what their coverages are and take a shot that it's going to work out," Schmidt said.

Experts said the best thing homeowners can do if they find themselves without insurance is to contact their insurance agent. Lighthouse customers coverage will end on May 29th.