TALLAHASSEE, Fla. -- Normally, it seems you always hear about property insurance companies that are raising rates.
Here's the story of one that's actually dropping its prices.
Security First Insurance has decided to lower property insurance premiums an average of 9 percent across Florida.
That will save the average customer $150 a year, according to company president and chairman Locke Burt.
He said Security First is able to lower homeowner premiums because of big changes in Florida's insurance market, legal environment and state laws over the past two years.
Burt said one of the main factors allowing Security First to lower homeowner premiums is because the cost of reinsurance -- the backup coverage for insurers -- is dropping.
"The price of reinsurance has gone down significantly over the last two years. In fact, it went down this June about 20 percent so we're passing those savings along to our customers."
Burt, who's also a former state senator, said Security First currently has more than 20,000 customers in the Tampa Bay area and is looking to expand.
Statewide, the company has 105,000 policies.
"What folks can do is they can go to our website, www.securityfirstflorida.com, and they can get an instant quote. It doesn't cost them anything and it takes two or three minutes."
Burt said he worked with the Florida Senate earlier this year measuring the impact of shrinking the state-run Citizens Property Insurance Corporation, a continuing goal of state lawmakers and Gov. Rick Scott.
He said they ran 600,000 Citizens policies through a computer program called Comparative Rater and discovered most Floridians could save money and get better coverage if they shopped around for property insurance.
But Burt said a lot of Citizens customers are nervous about the financial stability of newer property insurers like Security First, even though he said his company is strong.
"If the four hurricanes from 2004 hit tomorrow, we could pay 100 percent of the claims and keep on writing business."
The lower rates at Security First Insurance will take effect October 1 for new policies and December 1 for renewals.