As business property and liability insurance rates continue to rise, industry experts are advising business owners and companies to choose policies and representation wisely. With new construction projects throughout Miami-Dade and the business world heading back to the office, the market has gotten very tight as far as insurance companies that are available right now versus the capacity of policy seekers, which makes it crucial to choose the right agent when shopping for the best carrier, said Jorge Pena, vice president and licensed agent at Acentria Insurance. “There have been so many new construction projects that are just bringing more real estate, which all needs to be insured, and carriers have limited capacity,” Mr. Pena said. “That’s putting pressure on the rates on the underwriting.” Since 2017, business property insurance rates have been going up 10% to 15% each year, particularly due to numerous of recent hurricanes, and now the current economic boom, he added. Like many businesses in Miami-Dade, municipalities face the same rise of property insurance. In Coral Gables, the overall property insurance rate increased 1.68% due to a hardening market, accord-ing to city officials. The city renewed its property and casualty insurance coverage through May 2022 with Arthur J. Gallagher Risk Management Services for 52,967,592.
“We currently have a contract in place for risk management and insurance brokerage services with Arthur J. Gallagher Risk Management Services. This contract is in place for three years with the option to renew for two more years,” said Martha Pantin, Coral Gables’ director of public affairs, of the insurance company that also manages other policies including workers’ compensation, cyber liability and public officials’ errors and omissions. Businesses are not necessarily going for the best insurance companies but for the most reasonable and affordable, said Vanessa Bertran, a real estate lawyer for Agentis. “I’m seeing many clients who are sacrificing service for cost. A lot of commercial property owners are just getting exactly what the lender requires and not getting anything above and beyond because it’s the only thing that’s economically affordable for them.” On top of the hurricane season approaching, rates will continue to go up steadily due to out-of-state companies relocating and establishing their corporate headquarters in South Florida, she said. “We’re also seeing a lot of SBA (Small Business Administration) loans. In a year, I would probably do maybe one or two SBA loans. I’ve already done two this year and there’s a third one coming down the pipeline.” “With commercial businesses,” Ms. Bertran said, “I’m seeing a large influx coming down here, and that’s going to affect the market and insurance rates. It’s consumerism at its best.”