It shouldn’t be much of a surprise that insurance companies in Florida keep getting richer selling auto insurance, but the massive increases in revenues across the board are startling. According to the Florida Office of Insurance Regulation, State Farm, Geico and Progressive are the three largest companies in terms of auto premium revenues. From just 2011 to 2016, the amount of money these companies generated by selling personal auto insurance to Floridians has dramatically increased. For example, in 2011, Progressive sold just 694MM in premiums, yet increased their haul to 1.3Bn in 2016! Likewise, Geico went from sales of auto premiums of 1.2Bn in 2011 to a whopping 2.2Bn in 2016! State Farm’s increase was not as dramatic, but they still increased from 2.4Bn in 2011 to 2.7Bn in 2016, making them consistently the largest insurer for auto in the state.
While I spent some time on floir.com, the site for the Florida Office of Insurance Regulation, I stumbled upon an interesting complaint comparison page. Although the complaints could be more specific, the Florida Division of Consumer Services keeps track of each complaint filed by consumers against an insurance company by insurance type. The complaint tallies are then compared against similarly sized companies. As I played around checking several companies as far as auto complaints, two jumped off the page. Windhaven Insurance had 629 complaints filed against it in 2016. Yet, USAA, a company of the same exact size, only had 40! As I continued to check, I found that Ocean Harbor had 306 complaints filed against it, yet Southern-Owners Insurance, the most closely sized company to it, had only 14 complaints.
My questions are what, if anything, are our insurance regulators doing to contain these massive premiums increases and police the companies who may be underserving their customers? Spend some time looking at these numbers and you may be similarly shocked about what is going on in our insurance markets.
Remember, insurance companies are businesses. They make money by collecting more premiums than they pay out in claims. So, the fewer claims that they pay or the less they pay in claims, the more money they make. Quite a system, right? So, keep in mind that they are not incentivized to pay out anything more than they absolutely have to. They are motivated by money, not by paying you for your claim.