Posted on 25 Feb 2010
Farmers advised the state Department of Insurance that it will reduce its policy count by about 10,400 in the Alabama coastal counties of Baldwin and Mobile. A large majority, 10,000, will be full-coverage homeowners policies, including wind coverage, the insurer said in a statement. The rest are business policies.
Farmers is the fourth-largest writer of homeowners multi-peril in Alabama, according to BestLink, which provides online access to A.M. Best's Global Insurance and Banking Database. Other top writers of the coverage in Alabama have already announced plans to drop policies. Last December, Allstate Insurance said it made a decision to drop wind coverage on up to 9,000 policies in Baldwin and Mobile counties, and Alfa Insurance said it planned to drop wind coverage from 5,000 policies. State Farm said it was phasing out windstorm coverage for about 700 policyholders on the coast.
Farmers, a wholly owned subsidiary of Zurich Financial Services Group, said the policies it plans to drop from July 2010 to July 2011 are less than half of what it has in the coastal counties. The Farmers group insures about 120,000 homeowners and businesses in the state, and about 109,600 will not be affected.
Chris Simich, state director for Farmers in Alabama, said in a statement that the insurer "remains committed to growing" its overall business but the action to reduce risk was "driven by our need and our obligation to better spread our overall business exposure across Alabama in an effort to protect and serve our entire customer base."
Upon renewals, Farmers agents will be able to offer affected policyholders another Farmers policy without wind coverage. Agents will also work with customers to buy wind coverage through the state insurer of last resort -- the Alabama Insurance Underwriting Association, known as the Beach Pool, Farmers said.