TAMPA, Fla. — As our Price of Paradise series about the rising costs of living in Tampa Bay continues, we’re taking a closer look at a new insurance company that is offering private coverage to customers of Citizens Property Insurance… the taxpayer-backed insurer of last resort in Florida.
One homeowner said he was shocked when a quote from the new company arrived, and he’s warning others about the potential consequences of not taking action when that letter arrives.
David Bryant said when received a depopulation notice in the mail from Citizens Property Insurance late last month, it didn’t come as a total surprise.
“There’s been a dance with me going on Citizens and going off Citizens,” Bryant said.
He estimates that he has changed property insurance companies about five times during the 19 years he’s lived in his current home.
His most recent carrier before Citizens was Avatar Property and Casualty Insurance, which became insolvent last year.
Bryant is one of 100,000 Florida property owners covered by Citizens who are getting offers of coverage from Slide Insurance, a Tampa-based company founded in 2021.
The quote was 4.3 times Citizens’ rate
The letter’s opening line said, “Great news!”
But Bryant said the contents of the quote were anything but great.
“The bad news is it’s about 4.3 times what I was quoted from Citizens,” Bryant said.
The premium for the same level of coverage from Slide was $14,684, compared to $3,403 from Citizens.
Bryant’s Seminole Heights home is at 35 feet of elevation, is more than a mile from the Hillsborough River, and is three miles from Tampa Bay.
That new rate would raise Bryant’s monthly payment by $940.
“Why would anyone choose that unless you weren’t catching your mail? You weren’t paying attention to your mail?” Bryant said.
Under Citizen’s depopulation program, Slide would become Bryant’s default choice.
That’s unless he went online and filled out a form to opt out before November 6.
He did that, but he worries others may not take action in time.
“If you don’t have a computer, if you’re not computer savvy, if you’re an older person living at home alone, I just worry about folks like that that get stuck with these huge Slide bills,” Bryant said.
Slide Insurance picks up more than 300,000 policies
Bryant also worries Slide may be taking on too much risk too quickly in a state where hurricanes can produce billions in damages in any year.
Slide recently made renewal offers to 86,000 Farmer’s Property Insurance customers and took over 150,000 policies after St.Johns insurance and United Property & Casualty became insolvent.
That’s in addition to the 100,000 policies Citizens hopes to shed.
“I think that the business model is that maybe you won’t check your mail and then by default end up with Slide and paying a lot more money,” Bryant said.
We contacted Slide Insurance for comment but did not hear back by our deadline.
If you have a story you’d like the I-Team to investigate, email us at email@example.com