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The frequency and severity of water loss claims in Florida have increased every year since 2010, according to data call results from the Florida Office of Insurance Regulation (OIR). During the same period, there has been a 10 percent increase in severity for claims with an assignment of benefits, (AOB).
The data call was ordered by OIR last October in response to what some in Florida are calling a troubling trend with AOB claims for water losses. OIR then analyzed the data in an effort to shed light on if the AOB provision is being misused in the state.
OIR examined 259,742 water claims – damage that resulted from water pipes bursting, leaks from appliances, etc. – from the top 25 insurers in the state. The reporting insurers, which make up 80.5 percent of the Florida homeowners market, submitted detailed claims information for homeowners (HO3) and dwelling fire (DF) policies in force as of June 30, 2015. The claims were to have closed between Jan. 1, 2010 and Sept. 30, 2015.
Insurers were also asked to include summary information by county for closed claims during that same period for all other perils (AOP), excluding hurricane and sinkhole, as well as open claims as of Oct. 1, 2015 for both AOP and water/roof claims.
The report said that, based on the analyzed data, the frequency of water loss claims has increased by 46 percent since 2010, equaling an average annual increase in frequency of 8.3 percent each year. The severity of water claims has increased 28 percent since 2010, representing an annual increase of 5.4 percent.
OIR’s report states that the combined impact of changes in frequency and severity result in an average increase in water losses of 14.2 percent each year.
State-backed Citizens Property Insurance Corp. has claimed that the increase in losses has been especially significant in Southeast Florida, but that it is starting to be felt in other regions as well. OIR’s data backed up this claim, saying Southeast Florida experienced a 43 percent increase in water claim frequency and a 39 percent increase in claim severity.
Statewide, claims frequency and severity was not as high but the frequency still increased by double-digits for all regions. Severity increased by double-digits in all regions as well, except for North Central Florida and Northeast Florida, which only saw single-digit increases.
“If there were no other perils covered under the policy and no changes in expenses from year to year, an insurer may need to increase its rates by 10 percent or more each year (depending on the insurer’s expenses) just to break even due to the increase in water losses,” OIR said.
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