Florida Regulators, FAIA Slam Demotech for Reported Plans to Downgrade 17 Carriers

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Florida’s top rated insurance coverage regulators and the Florida Affiliation of Insurance policies Agents on Thursday blasted the Demotech monetary score organization following the business reportedly notified 17 insurers that they will quickly be downgraded.

Demotech President Joe Petrelli said Thursday night that the Florida coverage commissioner, the state’s main financial officer and the FAIA experienced misconstrued his firm’s plans in their strongly worded missives that were released Thursday.


“The OIR letter, the CFO’s letter and the FAIA press release are all inaccurate,” Petrelli informed the Insurance policies Journal. He declined further comment and declined to name the 17 troubled insurers, but promised to provide a fuller explanation by Monday.

Demotech began rating Florida insurers in the 1990s, following strong Hurricane Andrew hit the state’s southern conclusion in 1992, causing billions of bucks in damages. The storm resulted in several carriers becoming bancrupt and some nationwide carriers, which are rated by larger ranking corporations, fled the point out. Now, Demotech has turn into the dominant rating process for most Florida insurers.

It has carriers over a barrel and is utilizing questionable methodology in its analyses, FAIA and regulators billed.

“After 25 years, Demotech almost retains a monopoly on issuing economic energy scores to Florida domestic carriers although becoming mainly unidentified/unnecessary in other areas of the nation,” FAIA President Kyle Ulrich wrote Thursday in a web site short article titled, “Is it time for Florida to flip the web page on Demotech?”

“It is abundantly crystal clear that Florida’s assets market place has been held hostage by unscrupulous demo attorneys, community adjusters, and contractors for several years,” Ulrich argued. “Now, the actions of one rating corporation could add to the list.”


The controversy flared this week immediately after FAIA mentioned it had attained copies of letters from Demotech to the 17 assets insurers, notifying them that their financial toughness rating will be downgraded upcoming week, from “A Exceptional” to “S Substantial” or “M Reasonable.”

Downgrades are hardly ever excellent information and in some situations have preceded insolvencies or rehabilitation proceedings for insurers. The S score implies the carriers even now have substantial reserves, Petrelli has said. But it is not enough for Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, the quasi-governmental secondary loan companies that again the majority of residential home loans in the United States.

Devoid of Fannie’s and Freddie’s blessings, tens of millions of Florida householders insured by all those 17 carriers could be needed to get hold of high priced pressure-positioned procedures, CFO Jimmy Patronis explained in his letters to the director of the Federal Housing Finance Agency and to the heads of the lending businesses. He urged them to rethink the lenders’ reliance on Demotech insurance plan scores.

If Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac “de-authorize a sizeable proportion of Florida’s insurers based on the dubious rankings of one particular company, it would produce economic chaos for hundreds of thousands of Floridians,” Patronis wrote.

Some 115,000 Florida insurance policies agents also could be exposed to litigation challenges, and may not have satisfactory coverage underneath their glitches and omissions procedures, Patronis and Ulrich mentioned.

Insurance coverage Commissioner David Altmaier’s letter to Petrelli, dated Thursday, charged that Demotech has failed to adhere to its possess benchmarks in determining the economical scores. The workplace has “noted a number of discrepancies amongst these new choices and the ranking methodology posted on Demotech’s web page,” Altmaier wrote.


Ohio-based mostly Demotech has beforehand indicated that targeted carriers can attractiveness and deliver further economical information and most likely get hold of further cash. But insurers have explained to OIR that Demotech is now unwilling to look at extra information and facts and access to cash infusions, the commissioner’s letter said.

The timing and the tenor of the agents’ and regulators’ outrage stunned some in the Florida insurance plan market. Petrelli had suggested in May possibly that a number of carriers could be downgraded this 12 months, thanks in component to the continued prices of fraudulent roof claims and extreme claims litigation. He also despatched open letters to Florida’s governor and other individuals, noting that legislation accredited in May had not gone considerably sufficient to enable some providers.

Perhaps it was the sheer quantity of coverage companies that could be in trouble that set off the alarm bells this week. Ulrich declined to comment other than the sentiments integrated in his blog submit.

Many others in the market have warned for months that many insurers are in trouble, particularly following reinsurance rates rose by as significantly as 50% for some businesses. 4 carriers have been considered insolvent so significantly this calendar year and 12 have stopped composing new organization.

“Everyone knew this was coming,” a single industry supply mentioned Thursday.

The Office environment of Insurance policy Regulation, in point, this week released a sector balance report that indicated that 27 insurers – extra than fifty percent of the lively carriers in Florida – have been positioned on a look at list. Due to many aspects that advise the firms are dealing with economical complications, the OIR referred the companies to its recently created insurance company balance device for “enhanced monitoring,” as required by latest laws.

Nevertheless, the FAIA said a new technique is essential.

“Is now the time for insurers, lawmakers, and regulators to glance for a additional steady and predictable alternative to Demotech?” Ulrich asked.

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