Gulf Coast Business Review

Startup Firm Adds Products

March 06, 2012, Lakewood Ranch: Centauri Specialty Insurance Holdings, a startup homeowners insurance firm based in Manatee County, plans to expand its product offerings in Louisiana.

The firm, which already writes standard homeowners insurance policies in the state, will add renters insurance and dwelling fire insurance to its offerings by April. It also intends to market a new service for home equipment breakdown protection policies, according to a company press release. That will cover mechanical malfunctions, such as air-conditioning systems, telephone and security systems and swimming pool equipment.

Centauri picked up 948 polices in Louisiana late last year, part of a program the state-run Louisiana Citizens Insurance Corp. implemented to depopulate its rolls. The policies were a big victory for Centauri, a startup founded in July by Rick Espino and Lora Rees, former executives with another local insurance firm, Sarasota Universal North America.

Centauri has no current plans to write homeowners insurance polices in Florida, given the state’s chaotic regulatory climate. But executives do plan to expand to other southeastern states, sometime in 2012.