People's Trust dropping some home policies [Sun Sentinel :: ]
(South Florida Sun Sentinel (FL) Via Acquire Media NewsEdge) April 04--People's Trust Insurance Co. is canceling homeowners' insurance policies to reduce its risk in a growing market.
The Deerfield Beach company is dropping "less than 5 percent" of its 115,000 policyholders statewide, estimated Genie O'Loughlin, director of marketing for People's Trust. She was not more specific.
The cancellations and non-renewals include homeowners in Broward, Palm Beach and Miami-Dade counties.
O'Loughlin said People's Trust has grown substantially in the tri-county area in the past year, particularly in the past quarter, "As a result, People's Trust is implementing prudent exposure management strategies to more effectively diversify and balance the company's risk portfolio as we enter the 2014 storm season," she said in an email.
Insurance executives have been deciding "on a case-by-case basis" which homes not to ensure, she said.
"We truly regret that these short-term corrective measures inconvenience even a small percentage of our customers," O'Louglin added.
People's pullback stunned Andrew Leonard, who owns an independent insurance agency in Palm Beach County and had recently signed up clients for the insurance company after the insurer pushed to get more policyholders.
"They were in our office just weeks before with huge sales quotas," Leonard said. "It was sell, sell, sell."
But People's Trust abruptly switched course, blaming the high cost of re-insurance, he said. "It has been upsetting," Leonard added. He's now in the process of finding new insurance companies for those clients facing People's policy cancellations.
The insurer holds about 3 percent of the homeowner policies in Broward and Palm Beach counties -- about 29,950 policies. In contrast, the Number 1 insurer, Citizens, has almost 10 times that number, or more than 296,000 policies in the two counties, according to third-quarter numbers from the Florida Office of Insurance Regulation.
People's Trust began in 2008 and has grown rapidly. Last year, the insurer added more than 40,000 policyholders and expanded its staff from 162 to more than 426. The company received a 2013 Florida governor's business award for innovation.
Despite trimming its number of policyholders, the insurer will join Citizens' Clearinghouse and offer quotes, beginning in May, to inquiring homeowners, said Citizens spokesman Michael Peltier.
Said People's spokeswoman O'Loughlin: "We continue to write policies in the tri-county area that meet new underwriting guidelines as part of this strategy."
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