Legislators


The Florida legislature has approved legislation setting out new insurer solvency requirements while also requiring individuals to disclose information about any affiliated company.

Sponsored by Senator David Simmons (R-Altamonte Springs) and Representative Clay Ingram (R-Pensacola), the bill (SB 1308) closely follows a National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC) model act developed after the 2008 financial crisis.

The bill touches on a number of areas with the goal of streamlining the regulatory oversight. It provides regulators with more information to determine an insurer’s overall financial status.

Florida Insurance Commissioner Kevin McCarty said the bill would help protect policyholders by ensuring that insurers are properly capitalized.

Central to the bill is a provision that requires holding companies to disclose information about their operations. A holding company must annually provide a risk report to regulators. The report must contain detailed information about the firm’s business plan, developments in its risk management programs and any rating agency information.

Insurers also file annual reports with actuarial opinions on reserves and actuarial summaries.

The bill also sets out new reporting requirements related to individuals divesting their financial position in a company or investing in a company.

Among the changes are the revised definition of a controlling person as one having 10 percent of the ownership or interest in an insurer. Previously, an individual needed to have 25 percent ownership or interest of an insurer.

Please call L & S Insurance at 1-888-244-7400 for quotes on Home, Auto, Flood, Business & Commercial, & Life & Financial products as well. Please enjoy the full article below;

http://www.insurancejournal.com/news/southeast/2014/05/04/328025.htm

The Florida House has rejected a proposal that could shift homeowners away from the state-backed Citizens Property Insurance and into private surplus lines insurers.

Rep. John Wood, R-Winter Haven, said that the issue was dead for this year’s session.

Lawmakers have taken several steps over the last few years to try to steer people away from the state-created Citizens. Citizens was set up initially to be an insurer of last resort but it grew as Florida was hit by hurricanes and private insurers sought to limit their exposure in the Sunshine State.

Last year, legislators approved creating a clearinghouse that requires insurance agents to look at offers from private insurers before allowing someone to purchase a Citizens policy. A customer is ineligible for Citizens if one of the insurers charges premiums that are within 15 percent of Citizens rates.

The Senate bill as originally passed would have added surplus line insurers to those that could be offered through the clearinghouse starting in January.

Please call L & S Insurance at 1-888-244-7400 for quotes on Home, Auto, Flood, Business & Commercial, and Life & Financial products as well.

http://www.insurancejournal.com/news/southeast/2014/04/30/327963.htm

The Florida Senate on Friday voted 22-16 for a property insurance bill that could result in homeowners seeking coverage from Citizens to be shifted to a private surplus line insurance company. Surplus line companies are not subjected to the same regulations as companies based in the state.

Several senators objected to the legislation, including Republicans who live in areas with heavy concentrations of customers with the state-created Citizens.

“We have insurance regulation in the state of Florida for a good reason,” said Sen. Jeff Clemens, D-Lake Worth. “It’s to make sure consumers in Florida aren’t being taking advantage of.”

The Senate bill (SB 1672) would add surplus line insurers to those insurers that could be offered business through the clearinghouse starting in January.

Sen. David Simmons, R-Altamonte Springs, defended the bill and said it would give homeowners another choice for coverage. He said homeowners would be told ahead of time that the surplus line insurers are not regulated the same way as other insurers.

Simmons added that homeowners would also be allowed to move back to Citizens after receiving coverage from the surplus line insurer. He also noted some Floridians already insure their homes with these type of insurers.

Fort Lauderdale customers are among those that could be affected by this as well as Tampa residents in the Sinkhole areas. Please call L & S Insurance at 1-888-244-7400 for quotes on Home, Auto, Flood, Business & Commercial, and Life & financial products as well. Please enjoy the full article below.

http://www.insurancejournal.com/news/southeast/2014/04/28/327411.htm

Citizens launched the clearinghouse at the end of January, making it the latest tool for the insurer to reduce its 940,000-plus policyholders.

Until recently, four insurers were participating in the clearinghouse program including Ark Royal Insurance Co., Cabrillo Coastal General Insurance Co., Florida Peninsula Insurance Co., and United Property & Casualty Insurance Co.

As of March 30, six other insurers had joined the clearinghouse: American Traditions Insurance Co., Modern USA Insurance Co., Federated National Insurance Co., First Community Insurance Co., Heritage Insurance Co., and the Tower Hill Insurance Group.

So far, the clearinghouse has led to 1,173 Citizens applications being deemed ineligible for Citizens’ coverage, representing $302 million in exposure. Of those, 658 applications have been confirmed as finding coverage with one of the participating insurers.

That number, however, is just a fraction of the number of applicants being submitted by agents. As of March 3, the latest data available, agents have submitted 26,714 requests for coverage, of which fewer than 20 percent received an offer of coverage from one of the four participating insurers.

Professional Insurance Agents of Florida CEO Corey Matthews said that it is far too soon to measure the success of the clearinghouse. However, he said, so far insurers are not appointing as many agents as hoped for.

Even so, said Matthews, agents remain optimistic that eventually it will open new markets to them.

Please call L & S Insurance at 1-888-244-7400 for quotes on Home, Flood, Auto, Business & Commercial and Life & Financial products as well. Please enjoy the full article below;

http://www.insurancejournal.com/news/southeast/2014/04/09/325829.htm

the push by Jeff Atwater is in serious jeopardy. That’s because insurers, such as State Farm Florida, are only willing to accept the added protections if they come with other changes that could help keep their costs down.

The bill would create a “homeowner claims bill of rights” that requires insurers to spell out to homeowners what they can expect when they file a claim.

The legislation also would prohibit insurance companies from using credit information to deny a claim or cancel a policy if the policy has been in effect for more than 90 days. This provision came out of a dispute between regulators and one of Florida’s largest insurance companies.

Atwater said that the Legislature has given consumers specific rights over the years, “but consumers don’t have a bookshelf at home with these statutes. They are not conversant in this.”

But some insurers want a separate provision that would place limits on when a homeowner can sign over to a contractor the right to collect payments directly from an insurance company. They contend that this is a looming problem and that some companies hired to fix roofs and repair water damage have inflated the costs. Without the change the fear it is could drive up homeowner insurance rates once again.

Atwater initially backed this provision and said there are places where it is being abused. But the provision has drawn opposition from contractors and earlier this month a Senate panel voted to strip it out of the bill (SB 708).

Please call L & S Insurance at 1-888-244-7400 for quotes on Home, Flood, Auto, Business & Commercial and Life & Financial products as well. Please enjoy the full article below;

http://www.insurancejournal.com/news/southeast/2014/03/31/324820.htm

 

 

The Senate this week unanimously passed the bill (SB 542) sponsored by Sen. Jeff Brandes, a Republican from St. Petersburg. It heads to the Florida House where a similar bill is moving.

Florida is home to 37 percent of the federal policies and state officials say congressional attempts to overhaul the troubled program burdened many Floridians with skyrocketing premiums. Congress just recently rolled back some of the increases it permitted in 2012.

It’s not clear, though, that many private insurers will want to assume the risks of flooding.

 

Please call L & S Insurance at 1-888-244-7400  for quotes on Home, Auto, Flood, Business & Commercial,  & Life & Financial products as well.

 

http://www.insurancejournal.com/news/southeast/2014/03/28/324688.htm

At least 1.1 million policyholders are still likely to see insurance premiums rise substantially in the next few years as the government whittles down rate subsidies for people in the riskiest flood zones. The Associated Press found hundreds of river towns, port cities and coastal communities where future rate hikes might make it tough for people to keep their homes and businesses.

Yet, if premiums stay as low as they are now, those same communities could cost taxpayers billions of dollars when they do eventually flood, thanks to decades of low premiums that have given homeowners few incentives to flood-proof their properties.

Congress acknowledged the problem, but offered no solutions, in the stopgap measure signed by the president Friday. The law gives FEMA 18 months to complete an already-overdue study on flood insurance affordability and up to 36 months to find a way to offer targeted assistance to policyholders who can’t afford high premiums. It also said FEMA should set a goal of limiting annual premiums to no more than $2,500 per year for $250,000 in coverage, but didn’t offer any suggestions on how to do that without bankrupting a program that already charges far more than that for many policies.

Please call L & S Insurance at 1-888-244-7400 for quotes on Home, Auto, Flood, Business & Commercial, & Life & Financial products as well. Please enjoy the full article below.

 

 

http://www.insurancejournal.com/news/national/2014/03/26/324439.htm

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