Thanks to a series of hurricanes and tropical storms, many large property insurance companies have scaled back on writing policies in the Sunshine State and other Southern and Eastern coastal communities.

In recent years, a number of small companies have sprung up to help fill this void. The challenge for homeowners is trying to find information about these insurers.

The following tips can help you learn about new insurance companies; experts say:

Make sure the company is licensed

Consumers who vet home insurance companies should contact their state insurance department (or check its Web site) to make sure the companies are licensed in the state.

To be licensed, companies must prove they have a certain amount of assets on hand to cover claims.

Licensing also ensures that if a firm eventually goes belly up, the state guaranty fund will pay the company’s claims. The fund gets its money from policy holders in a state who are assessed a fee, regardless of the insurance company they use.

Peruse the complaint record

In most states, you can check online to uncover the number of complaints filed against a company.

However, just checking raw numbers can be deceptive. It’s almost inevitable that a large carrier will have more complaints than a small firm that has only been in existence for a short time.

Typical complaints about companies include slow payment of claims or poor customer service.

Check Financial Strength

Four independent agencies—A.M. Best, Fitch, Moody’s and Standard & Poor’s—rate the financial strength of insurance companies. Each has its own rating scale, its own rating standards, its own population of rated companies, and its own distribution of companies across its scale. Each agency uses numbers or plusses and minuses to indicate minor variations in rating from another rating class.

You must check the financial stability of the company and then proceed forward with the insurance. Feel free to consult us on (754) 300-7352.