This weekend, State Farm Insurance of Bloomington, Illinois, announced that it will no longer write new homeowner, condo, or renters policies in the state of Florida. The company claims it will continue to "honor" existing homeowner policies and write new auto insurance policies. Well aren't they just the most generous things!
State Farm mouthpieces claim this is part of a grand plan to manage company growth in Florida, but anyone can see it's simply a matter of selective greed. Auto policies are far more lucrative than homeowner policies, especially in hurricane prone areas. State Farm has simply chosen to cut their losses in the real estate market and concentrate on ripping off motorists. This follows a similar move by Allstate forcing Floridians to scramble for new policies. Last year State Farm began a strategic withdrawal from Mississippi as well.
In 2006, State Farm announced an 80% rate hike which was supposedly lowered to 52% by deliberation with Florida state officials, however many homeowners reported increases higher than 52%. Earlier this year, Florida lawmakers put pressure on insurance companies to lower rates by 9%, a move which seems to have been the final straw for State Farm, prompting the pullout.
Now State Farm has a right to cover who they want, where they want. If Florida and Mississippi are deemed "too dangerous," Fine. But, here's what I say: Fuck State Farm. In fact, screw the entire insurance scam industry. From the scumbags who sell "Hurricane" policies then refuse to pay off on them with the old "wind versus water" argument to the shit-heels who sell "full coverage" policies only to come up with things that indeed aren't covered after the fact. Fuck 'em all. You're better off without them, especially in Louisiana.
I had $80,000 or so in coverage on my homeowners policy but received about a third of that. Not bad considering the minimal damage to my home: about a foot of water and a roof with a huge hole, but I took a bath, (literally,) on the contents. Had I been an irresponsible, uninsured lout, I could have qualified for about $100,000 in state and federal funding, not to mention an ass-load of low interest, long term loans. True, I would'nt have been able to move back into my home for about two years while I waited for my government cheese, but that's cool to because FEMA would have picked up my rental and moving costs for all that time. Hell, I could have had a ritzy "slum home" like Sharon Jasper with high ceilings, hardwood floors and a brand new kitchen, all paid for by the Taxpayers of America. But no, I had to be responsible.
Don't get me wrong, not all insurance companies are full of crap. When we first moved here, my dad, (Rest In Peace,) split our insurance coverage between two of his poker buddies and our flood coverage was with Farmers. I can't tell you what a delight they were to work with. Just a few weeks after Katrina, my Farmers rep made an appointment to inspect my home and kept it. He walked through, scribled his numbers, gave me advice on clean-up and offered to cut me a preliminary check on the spot if I needed any money. I didn't, but the gesture was certainly appreciated. He was there most of the time when I called or e-mailed, and if he wasn't, he was prompt in returning the call. This guy must have never slept considering all the other people he had to deal with, but he was always there for me.
My State Farm rep on the other hand... missed the first two appointments, (infuriating, as I had to drive in from Jackson, Mississippi both times for nothing,) showed up late at the third, and almost never answered her phone. We did receive a relatively prompt payment from State Farm, but the overall experience was disheartening, to say the least. (OK, she was an incredible ditz, and strangely enough, she was a blonde.)
Well, I seem to have gotten slightly off track here, but I must say the venting has made me feel a little better. Suffice it to say that any new policies I get will be with Farmers. Yes, even though I just suggested being a leech, I can't seem to make myself do it. There's a certain dignity that comes from knowing you're taking care of your obligations. I can hold my head up high when Katrina discussions start up, (and here in Louisiana, they almost always do,) and proudly proclaim that I was not a drain on the system, that I was a responsible human being. Something that certain State Farm corporate bigwigs will never be able to do.