Florida’s independent insurance agents have voiced their concern regarding one of Florida’s largest property insurers taking over thousands of policies from a now defunct competitor. Agents are worried that the move may cost them dearly in the form of client exodus. Homeowners Choice Insurance, a subsidiary of Homeowners Choice Property and Casualty Insurance, has taken on more than 70,000 policies from HomeWise Insurance. While agents have witnessed such happenings in the past, there is a provision in the contract between HomeWise and Homeowners Choice that could put agents’ livelihoods in jeopardy.
According to the agreement between the two companies, Homeowners Choice has the authority to seize control of all 70,000 policies, including those coming from independent insurance agents. Agents were given relatively little time to review the contract before it was enacted, a move that the Florida Insurance Association of Insurance Agents says could severely impact the industry as a whole.
The association claims that the contract violates an agent’s ability to do business in the state. Agents have long been able to leverage a client’s policy, using it to find the best insurer to provide coverage without having to worry about interference from said insurers. The contract contradicts that practice, so much so that the association may end up seeking support from the state’s insurance regulators. Homeowners Choice claims that the move will not affect agents in any way, but agents are still wary of the contract between the two companies.