On October 7, 2009, Nationwide Insurance Co. of Florida announced that it intends to non-renew 60,000 Florida homeowners' insurance policies over a two-year period beginning in July 2010. A company spokesperson said the action was based on Florida's overexposure to natural disasters and the company's need to “preserve financial viability.”
Nationwide has been reducing its presence in Florida for many years. It stopped writing new homeowners' policies in the state in 2005 and it non-renewed almost 100,000 policies from 2006 – 2009. Under the new announcement, Nationwide will continue to cover approximately 45,000 Florida residential policyholders who also have Nationwide auto policies.
The Florida Office of Insurance Regulation announced that the Tower Hill Group, Florida's fifth-largest writer of residential property coverage, would offer coverage to any policyholders that Nationwide decides to non-renew. In August 2009, the A. M. Best Co. downgraded the financial strength rating of several Tower Hill companies from B (Fair) to D (Poor) and then, at Tower Hill's request, changed the companies' status to “not rated.” An Office of Insurance Regulation spokesperson said that the Tower Hill companies “all meet or exceed Florida's financial statutory guidelines.”