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Business Observer Friday, Jul. 15, 2016 2 years ago

Insurance firm surges into market

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It's not a deluge, yet, but another insurance company in the region has launched a flood insurance program.

It's not a deluge, yet, but another insurance company in the region has launched a flood insurance program.

In March, Tampa-based HCI Group, after two-and-a-half years of planning, began to sell flood insurance through a subsidiary named TypTap. With an ambitious goal to write at least 5,000 flood policies this year, HCI invested more than $25 million in launching TypTap.

Lakewood Ranch-based Centauri Insurance has now joined HCI in the private flood insurance market, offering another alternative to the National Flood Insurance Program. Founded in 2011 by former Universal North America insurance executives Ricardo Espino and Lora Rees, Centauri had $118.3 million in revenues last year, up 58.8% from 2014. The company has grown from three employees to 25, and earlier this year it announced plans to build a new $8 million headquarters in Lakewood Ranch, a three-story, 30,000-square-foot complex.

In a statement announcing the program, Centauri says it will offer rates at least 15% lower than the NFIP. It also plans to eliminate the NFIP's standard 30-day waiting period, the release states, and offer higher limits on dwellings and contents. And, like TypTap, it aims to simplify the convoluted flood insurance process.

“Our goal is to offer customers an innovative solution for flood insurance that is more efficient and more cost effective while providing better coverage,” says Espino, president and CEO, in the statement. “Our program makes it easy for customers to combine their homeowners and flood coverage into a single policy.”

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