July 22, 2014
Florida Frets That With Proposed Rate Cut, Citizens Could Be Too Competitive, Not good for Fort Lauderdale and S. Florida?Posted by homeinsuranceguru under Auto Insurance, Citizens Insurance, Flood Insurance, Florida, Fort Lauderdale, Governor, Home Owners Insurance, Insurance commissioner, Reinsurance | Tags: Auto Insurance, Car Insurance, CFO Jeff Atwater, Citizens, Flood Insurance, Florida, Fort Lauderdale, Home, Homeowners, Insurance, our partners at www.1ststate.net |
Leave a Comment
June 23, 2014
Leave a Comment
Florida’s passage of a homeowners’ claims bill of rights left few satisfied after lawmakers largely codified current law while avoiding controversial issues such as the practice of policyholders assigning their claims payments to contractors.
The bill of rights was a priority of the state’s Chief Financial Officer Jeff Atwater and was initially drafted by the state’s insurance consumer advocate’s office.
Atwater said the bill is needed given that about 350,000 homeowners file claims each year and his office receives 125,000 calls from policyholders either filing complaints or searching for answers about their claims.
“This much-needed bill of rights will notify Florida homeowners of their rights and responsibilities when filing an insurance claim and give them confidence that they will be treated fairly during a stressful situation involving their home,” stated Atwater.
The 12-point bill of rights is meant to inform homeowners of timelines such as one requiring insurance companies to acknowledge a claim within 14 days of being filed. Additionally, insurers must within 30 days of receiving a proof-of-loss statement, confirm a claim is covered, partially covered or denied. Within 90 days, insurers must either pay the claim in full or in part or deny the claim.
The bill of rights also advises policyholders what they need to do in case they have property damage, including that they should contact their insurer before hiring a contractor.
While Atwater and his allies have been declaring victory, some who participated in crafting the bill walked away disappointed in an outcome that created no new legal rights for homeowners or insurers.
What seemed at first a rather non-controversial piece of legislation turned into a heated debate over a so-called “assignment of benefits” provision.
Under this provision, homeowners can sign over their financial rights to be paid for a claim so that instead the payments are made directly to a contractor making repairs instead of to the homeowner.
The contractor also assumes the policyholder’s legal right to dispute a claim and file suit against an insurer. If the contractor prevails in court, in addition to the insurer having to pay the claim, it must also pay the contractor’s legal bills.
From insurers’ point of view, this has created a cottage industry where trial lawyers and contractors work to maximize the monies they can receive from insurers regardless of the real cost of the claim.
Personal Insurance Federation of Florida Executive Director Michael Carlson said that is a major reason his association supported doing away with the assignment of benefits.
“What we are seeing under assigned benefits is unscrupulous contractors who tell homeowners that in order to get repairs they have to sign a form signing away their rights,” said Carlson. “Then the vendor will inflate the claims costs then tell the insurer you owe us this much or we will sue you.”
Carlson said that in addition to increasing claims costs and unnecessary litigation, the assignment of benefits practice keeps consumers in the dark about their own claims. For example, he said, policyholders have had lawsuits filed on their behalf without their knowledge.
Please call L & S Insurance at 1-888-244-7400 for quotes on Home, Auto, Flood, Business & Commercial, & Life & Financial products as well.
June 17, 2014
Leave a Comment
Florida Gov. Rick Scott has signed legislation designed to encourage private insurers to offer flood insurance, but the industry is tamping down expectations that it will result in a viable market in the near future.
The legislation creates a statutory framework allowing private insurers to offer four different types of flood coverage ranging from standard coverage, which mirrors the current National Flood Insurance Program policies, to three other enhanced coverages.
The legislation also allows private insurers to file their own rates prior to October 1, 2019, after which they must be approved by regulators. The time period is so Florida insurers can develop state flood data that is currently not available under the NFIP.
Florida Insurance Commissioner Kevin McCarty says it will ultimately benefit consumers.
Lawmakers first pursued the flood insurance bill with a sense of urgency in response to the federal Biggert-Waters Insurance Reform act of 2012, which was designed to address a $24 billion funding shortfall in the National Flood Insurance Program caused largely by hurricanes Katrina and Sandy.
Biggert-Waters required some flood premiums to rise, in some cases substantially, until they attained actuarial levels and for most subsidies to be phased out. It also called for new flood maps that also raised some premiums and expanded flood zone areas so that more people had to buy coverage.
Eliminating long-time premium subsidies on homes built before 1974 and keeping property owners from pass along those subsidies when they sold their homes meant that 280,000 Florida homeowners faced rate increases and other confronted difficulties selling their homes.
More than two million Florida residents are covered through the NFIP, and state’s policyholders pay $3.60 in premiums for every $1 in claims, factors some say favor the creation of a private market.
However, after there was a public uproar over the Biggert-Waters changes, Congress amended that reform law to limit rate increases, retain premium subsidies and allow subsidies to pass through to new owners when a house is sold. As a result he urgency over the need for a private market waned.
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;
May 1, 2014
Leave a Comment
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.
March 31, 2014
Leave a Comment
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;
January 21, 2014
Leave a Comment
In response to Jeff Atwater the CFO of Florida, Kevin McCarty has finally decided to help Floridians and the Real estate market in General. Several Months ago I blogged about this issue raised by The CFO and now we finally have some positive answers. I have already seen some carriers reducing rates for the Spring so good things to look forward to as long as Hurricanes like Andrew, Katrina, Wilma & Sandi do not find their way to Florida. Please enjoy the full article below from the Insurance Journal. Please call L & S Insurance at 1-888-244-7400 for quotes on Home, Auto, Flood, Business & Commercial, and life Insurance products as well.
October 31, 2013
CFO Jeff Atwater is after the Insuarnce Commissioner Kevin McCarty for answers on Home Insurance prices!!!Posted by homeinsuranceguru under Auto Insurance, CFO, Flood Insurance, Florida, Forclosure, Fort Lauderdale, Home Owners Insurance, Reinsurance, Rick Scott GOP | Tags: Auto Insurance, Car Insurance, CFO, CFO Jeff Atwater, Flood Insurance, Florida, Fort Lauderdale, Governor, Governor Rick Scott, Home, Homeowners, Insurance, Kevin McCarty Insurance Commissioner |
Leave a Comment
Reinsurance prices have dropped this year, but we are not seeing any relief with price decreases yet on Home Insurance, and our CFO is finally asking the question why. This has taken a while as prices are way above where they were after Hurricane Wilma and things have improved since then in many ways! The reason is simple!! No one has made them lower rates. They are following the requests of our Governor Rick Scott when he came into office saying the Insurance companies need to get fiscally healthy, but not many knew what that meant. Let’s see how this pans out as The people of Fort Lauderdale, and all of S. Florida need a rate hike break as it is killing the Real estate market as well. So many are struggling with budgets and Foreclosures are still everywhere so why does the Insurance rates have to be so high. I like the pressure from the CFO and it is long overdue! Please call L & S Insurance at 1-888-244-7400 for quotes on Home, Auto, Flood, Business & Commercial, and Life Insurance products as well. Please enjoy the full article below!
September 27, 2013
Leave a Comment
This started in May and has been and will continue to be under investigation by the office of Insurance Regulation and The Insurance Commissioner’s office(Kevin McCarty). For this 40K policies they removed they have received another 33 Million in cash payouts from Citizens to take them Immediately instead of waiting till the renewal which was always done in the past. Heritage did give Governor Rick Scott and many others some big Campaign Contributions and they in turn had this deal almost slip under the radar, but it was caught.Barry Gilway, the head of Citizens Insurance said this was not intended, but any carrier can do the same deal. Sure they have paid several hundred claims and paid out 2-3 million so far, but they were allowed to Cherry Pick(Underwrite) the policies they wanted. If that was me, I would pick any policy that does not have a current claim pending and has not had a Claim while they were in Citizens so they are less likely to have one. Looks Like Heritage is the winner so far at about 30 million so far plus the premiums from the clients which all take out carriers receive. How will this affect Fort Lauderdale and South Florida, time will tell and the next Hurricane will tell us more about financial solvency. In the meantime, please enjoy the full article below. Please call L & S Insurance at 1-888-244-7400 for quotes on Home, Auto, Flood, Business & Commercial Coverage and Life Insurance products as well.
August 12, 2013
Leave a Comment
Many questions and many more answers that still lead to more questions. The one real question is our system is so bad and controlled by Tall. that no one knows where to begin. I still affirm that you cannot deal with one problem, the system needs major overhauling. This is not liklely tgo happen anytime soon, so those of us in Fort lauderdale, S. Florida and just paying to much for Insurance, there is still no relief in sight with this Governor!!!! Please read the full article below and please call L & S at 1-888-244-7400 for quotes on Home, Auto, Flood, Business & COmmercial and Life Insurance products as well.
June 17, 2013
Florida Governor Rick Scott, CFO Atwater,Citizens and Heritage Insurance, together smells of Politics in Tall. and will be investigatedPosted by homeinsuranceguru under Auto Insurance, Citizens Insurance, Flood Insurance, Florida, Governor, Governor Christ, Governor Rick Scott, Home Owners Insurance, Rick Scott GOP | Tags: Auto Insurance, Car Insurance, CFO, CFO Jeff Atwater, Citizens, Flood Insurance, Florida, Fort Lauderdale, Governor, Governor Rick Scott, Home, Homeowners, Insurance |
Leave a Comment
You cannot distance yourselves from things they track and all politicians like to play Politics. Now the Democrats led by Charlie Christ(Former Republican Governor) is helping to uncover some deals that many say are shady within the Republican Party and are done for political gain. The Investigation will go into next year and who knows what they find, but the deal is done and Heritage will assume an additional 60K policies from Citizens and be paid for them. They will have to pay claims on them, but the ones they take are claim freee at that time so the risk is a good one for Heritage Insurance. What does this mean for Fort Lauderdale and S. Florida is not much. This is Politics in Tall. at their best trying to catch each other doing things instead of just trying to help. Please let L & S help you by call us at 1-888-244-7400 for quotes on Home, Auto, Flood, Business & Commercial, and Life Insurance as well. Please enjoy the full article below as well;