Tower Hill could grab cut Nationwide policies
Nationwide says it has lined up the Gainesville-based company to do so.
By Anthony Clark
Published: Friday, October 9, 2009 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Thursday, October 8, 2009 at 11:52 p.m.
When Nationwide Insurance went to the state with a plan to unload 60,000 Florida homeowner policies, it already had lined up Gainesville-based Tower Hill Insurance Group as an alternative for those policyholders.
Tower Hill President Don Matz said the companies worked together to figure out which policies Tower Hill had the capacity to take on and meet Nationwide’s goal of reducing its exposure in the state.
Insurers try to spread out their exposure to risk by property types and locations.
Nationwide announced Wednesday it would not renew 60,000 homeowner policies over two years, starting in July 2010. It will retain 45,000 of its nearly 105,000 policies – a figure that is already down from 129,000 policies Nationwide carried in December 2008, according to the Florida Office of Insurance Regulation.
The nonrenewal notices will start going out in January 2010.
Nationwide is taking a different approach than State Farm, which announced last year it would start pulling out of the Florida homeowner insurance market entirely starting this year.
The state accepted State Farm’s plan on the condition that it not dump all its policies on the state-run Citizens and that it allow its agents to write policies for other private companies. State Farm petitioned that, and the issue is scheduled for a hearing in December.
Nationwide previously allowed its 250 agents in Florida to go independent and write policies for other agencies, Matz said, including 40 to 50 who also represent Tower Hill.
He said Tower Hill intends to offer policies to every one of Nationwide’s nonrenewed customers but expects that some will choose another carrier.
Tower Hill does not expect to add staff to handle the additional policies, he said.
"We have plenty of capacity from a systems and facility and personnel perspective," Matz said.