Homeowners Choice, a Florida-based insurance holding company, has taken initial steps to enter into the Alabama homeowners insurance market, its first market outside of Florida.

According to the company, it expects to satisfy the Alabama regulatory requirements and begin operations there by the end of 2011.

The company cited a number of reasons for choosing Alabama, including the regulatory environment, adequacy of insurance rates, the proximity to Florida and the size of the market.

Homeowners Choice CEO F X McCahill said the company had a longstanding commitment to expand and diversify into other states and markets but only when doing so makes economic sense.

"We believe with our resources and operating experience, this expansion into Alabama begins to fulfill that commitment," McCahill said.

Founded in 2006, Homeowners Choice provides property and casualty homeowners’ insurance, condominium owners’ insurance and tenants’ insurance solely to Florida property owners and serves policyholders throughout Florida.