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Property insurance rates continue to be a source of unpredictability and financial stress for long-term care providers around the country, but especially in areas vulnerable to extreme weather. One particularly vulnerable area is Florida, where premiums have increased by 125% in the last five years.

That 25% per year average underscores the unequal burden faced by long-term care providers in areas of the country at risk for weather emergencies like hurricanes and wildfires.

For example, in Florida, the nation’s second oldest state on average, premiums rose by 27% in 2023 alone, according to figures published by Bloomberg Monday. That far exceeded the national average of only 6%.

While still trending up, rate increases have generally stabilized significantly since the end of the COVID-19 pandemic. The national 6% average is consistent with a zero to 10% average increase predicted in an early May analysis released by Willis Towers Watson.

That WTW analysis, however, predicts significantly higher premium increases in areas where facilities could be exposed to catastrophic losses or already have a history of expensive insurance claims. The report estimated yearly increases ranging from 10% to 20% in these areas.

Already facing the same staffing and reimbursement funding challenges as other US providers, several Florida senior care operators have sounded the alarm about the further burden of skyrocketing insurance premiums. 

Bloomberg’s reporting noted that an average of around 140 nursing homes and assisted living facilities, the overwhelming percentage of them assisted living, have closed in Florida each of the last five years. Nursing home closures in the state are comparatively rare, according to Kristen Knapp, senior director of strategy and communications at the Florida Health Care Association. 

Florida’s Certificate of Need process has limited closures in the state, she told McKnight’s Long-Term Care News Monday. Only 17 closures have taken place since 2018. Two of these facilities were closed due to severe hurricane damage in 2018. 

Rising premiums continue to plague the region’s providers, however, as nursing homes are forced to adapt to increasingly stormy weather — both literal and regulatory. 

Studies in recent years have highlighted that facilities in various regions of the country are often insufficiently prepared for natural disasters like hurricanes and wildfires that have been exacerbated by climate change. In the Atlantic and Gulf Coast regions, for example, as many as 30% had emergency preparedness deficiencies in 2023.