MANATEE, Fla. -- Safeco Insurance said it will stop writing homeowners policies in Florida, the sixth insurance company to announce its departure from the market since last year's rough hurricane season.
Seattle-based Safeco notified the state Office of Insurance Regulation that it won't write new policies and starting in 2006 won't renew existing ones. It stopped writing new homeowner policies this week.
Safeco has 30,000 personal property customers in Florida, with the most -- more than 2,600 -- in Hillsborough County. Duval County is its second biggest homeowner policy market.
"After months of careful consideration, we came to the decision that we cannot effectively compete in Florida's personal property market," said company spokesman Eric Trott.
The decision applies to homeowners, dwelling fire, renters and condominium insurance. The company will continue to sell commercial and auto policies in Florida.
The decision follows similar announcements by other insurers, including Allstate, the state's third-largest insurer, which told the state in May that it will drop about 16,000 commercial policies and not renew about 95,000 Florida homeowner policies. More than 20 other companies have sought rate increases.