In a nearly three-hour rate hearing on August 25, representatives from Florida’s Citizens Property Insurance Corp. delved into and defended their recent rate filing, which included significant increases in many Florida regions, before the Florida Office of Insurance Regulation (FLOIR).

Insurance Commissioner Kevin McCarty, who led the FLOIR panel, opened up the hearing by emphasizing that Citizens is not under fire for its submitted rate proposal.

Citizens’ CEO Barry Gilway said water damage claims, which the company described as not flood-related but instead a water loss as a result of a sudden or accidental discharge of water by a pipe or water-system issues, have increased by 50 percent in severity and frequency.

“I want to be crystal clear on this issue: water losses are the major reason Citizens is seeking rate hikes for the coming year, especially in South Florida. Were it not for water loss… 99 percent of South Floridians –Miami-Dade South Florida policyholders would be seeing rate decreases,” Gilway said.

Gilway described the rise in water damage in South Florida as “very disturbing.” He said two years ago the frequency of water loss damage was 8 percent and has since risen to 13 percent, with the company now seeing an average of about 1,000 water damage claims a month. The average water damage loss 2.5 years ago was $9,000 and today is closing in $15,000, he said.

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

http://www.insurancejournal.com/news/southeast/2015/08/26/379771.htm

Florida Insurance Commissioner Kevin McCarty said on Aug. 14 that the National Flood Insurance Program’s (NFIP) rates for Florida may be “unfairly discriminatory” and that his office will ask for the actuarial study, including data and models used to determine rates in the state, from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) for further examination.

McCarty made his comment in a letter to state Sen. Jeff Brandes, R-St. Petersburg, who earlier this month asked the Florida Office of Insurance Regulation for its support in obtaining the NFIP data.

Brandes said Florida properties make up 37 percent of all flood insurance policies in the NFIP, and to date it has yet to be proven that the rates for those policies are anything other than excessive or arbitrary. The lawmaker is also seeking greater access to NFIP loss-history figures to assist private insurers entering the flood insurance market.

We will ask them for the actuarial study including all data and models used. This would be necessary to do a review similar to the review we would perform of a private company filing to make a determination of whether the rates meet the Florida statutory requirements of not excessive, inadequate or unfairly discriminatory.”

Without data and further analysis though, McCarty added, “we can say that the rates are unfairly discriminatory.”

Please call L & S Insurance for quotes on Home, Auto, Flood, Private Flood, Business & Commercial policies, & Life & Financial products as well.

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http://www.insurancejournal.com/news/southeast/2015/08/18/378884.htm

The Florida Office of Insurance Regulation announced that it will conduct a public hearing later this month to discuss Citizens Property Insurance Corporation’s proposed 2016 rate changes for its business in the multi-peril and wind only Coastal Account (CA), Commercial Lines Account (CLA) and the Personal Lines Account (PLA).

The public hearing will be held on Aug. 25 at the Senate Office Building, at the Florida State Capitol located in Tallahassee, Florida. The hearing is scheduled to begin at 9:00 a.m.

Citizens has said its proposed rate package lowers rates for nearly half of Citizens’ personal lines policyholders while responding to increased water loss claims and continued inadequate rates for its remaining policyholders along the coast.

Listed in the chart below are the proposed rate changes as filed by Citizens. The Florida Office of Insurance Regulation is required, per statute, to render a decision on these filings within two weeks of the hearing.

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http://www.insurancejournal.com/news/southeast/2015/08/14/378657.htm

Watch out Fort Lauderdale and Broward county. With 250K people now with no flood coverage,  Murphy’s law is likely so be careful!!!

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A summer deluge has flooded streets in the Tampa Bay area, forcing some road closings and evacuations, delaying airline flights and overtaxing parts of local wastewater treatment systems.

Major intersections were closed Monday near downtown Tampa, snarling traffic throughout the region. At Tampa International Airport, 161 outgoing and incoming flights were delayed in the morning due to rains and wind shear.

Even theme park Busch Gardens closed for the day because of inclement weather.

Pasco County was among the hardest hit areas. Emergency management officials reported $1 million in damage from weekend flooding, and county leaders said one river could reach record-levels by late Monday afternoon.

National Weather Service officials were checking on whether the rainfall may have broken records in some places.

They said that as of about 10:30 a.m., about 3.78 inches were reported at Tampa’s airport during a 12 hour period. Palm Harbor, a suburb in Pinellas County northwest of Tampa, received 7 inches of rain. There, sheriff’s deputies used boats to pull residents out of a swamped RV park and golf courses were inundated. Shelters opened for residents who were evacuated.

http://www.insurancejournal.com/news/southeast/2015/08/05/377513.htm

The Florida Department of Financial Services’ Division of Insurance Fraud has announced the arrest of Mandy Rodriguez, 35, on felony fraud and grand theft charges after an investigation revealed that Rodriguez, a licensed insurance agent, allegedly stole more than $80,000 in premium funds from four of his clients. In an effort to conceal that he was pocketing the money intended to pay the premiums on policies his clients thought were valid, Rodriguez created fake proof of insurance documents and gave them to his clients, DIF said in a statement.

Rodriguez’ clients reportedly believed they were paying for legitimate commercial or homeowners’ insurance policies from Citizens Property Insurance Co., but Citizens verified that none of the policies ever existed. Rodriguez allegedly instructed his clients to write their premium checks to his company, Risk Management Agency Group, rather than to Citizens directly. Bank records show that the victims’ checks were deposited into his company’s account for personal use.

 

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/2015/07/28/376462.htm

Please call L & S Insurance at 1-888-244-7400 for quotes on Home, Auto, Flood, Car, Business & Commercial, & Life & Financial products as well! Please enjoy the full article below, but see how Public adjustors really get you more money!!! We call it FRAUD!!!!

 

Florida CFO and State Fire Marshal Jeff Atwater, alongside Miami-Dade State Attorney Katherine Fernandez Rundle, has made more than 30 arrests during the second wave of a collaborative state and local operation known as “Operation Flames and Floods.” The investigation exposed an extensive scheme in which a Miami public adjuster named Jorge Espinosa recruited homeowners to stage fire and water damage claims in residential homes in order to defraud multiple insurance companies.

Previously arrested in February 2014 for crimes related to this fraud ring, investigators have since uncovered 25 more fraudulent claims tied to Espinosa, representing total losses of more than $14 million.

“It is clear that this scheme was driven by greed, and unfortunately, it is the honest policyholders in our state who are left on the hook to cover the millions of dollars that were stolen,” said CFO Jeff Atwater.

Atwater credited the work of the Department’s investigators, as well the support of the Miami-Dade Police Department’s Arson Unit and Miami-Dade County State Attorney Katherine Fernandez Rundle, in stopping the individuals and holding them accountable.

Miami-Dade State Attorney Katherine Fernandez Rundle said the insurance thieves were making their money by “Reaching into the wallets of every honest citizen of Florida. Their profits come from our pain and hard work. That is why these arrests are so important.”

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

The Florida Department of Financial Services’ Division of Insurance Fraud has arrested Roxana Suarez La Rosa on charges related to PIP (personal injury protection) fraud. In 2012, the Saint Jose Injury Center in Jacksonville, Fla., which Suarez La Rosa owned and operated, generated more than 50 insurance claims. During this time, at least three cooperating witnesses indicated that they participated in staged automobile crashes. Each stated that Suarez La Rosa had participants sign for treatments they never received in order to fraudulently bill their insurance companies.

Suarez La Rosa faces charges of fraud and racketeering and up to 50 years in prison if convicted. Additional cases related to the Saint Jose Injury Center are pending. The case is being prosecuted by office of 4th Judicial Circuit State Attorney Angela Corey.

http://www.insurancejournal.com/news/southeast/2015/05/04/366686.htm

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