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

Florida’s insurer of last resort, Citizens, has expanded its efforts to curb increasing water loss claims with a new Water Mitigation Estimate Review Program.

Citizens Chief Claims Officer Jay Adams said the new program will provide Citizens with “certified and trained professionals to assess contractor expenses and/or invoices related to

Citizens’ Board of Governors awarded a contract of up to $1.8 million for three years to insurance claims servicing firm Lynx Services LLC, which will examine whether claim invoices associated with water damage are reasonable and adhere to industry standards. The actual amount of the contract will depend on the number of claims reviewed.

“The goal is to identify inflated or excessive charges on invoices from contractors that have performed water damage restorations for Citizens’ policyholders and to contest or adjust invoices so it comports with industry standards,” Adams said of the action item presented to the Board on July 19.

Citizens, as well as other Florida insurers, allege that unscrupulous contractors and water mitigation firms are taking advantage of the assignment of benefits (AOB) provision on insurance policies and inflating water damage claims. The problem has been dubbed by Florida industry and consumer advocates as an “insurance crisis” and has led to statewide rate increases for homeowners from multiple insurance companies, including Citizens.

The Lynx contract was approved unanimously by the five of eight board members who called in for the teleconference. The yearly spend for the contract is $365,813 and the estimated cost is a budgeted expense that is paid as an “Adjusting Expense” under the claim file. The contract also features two optional one-year renewals after the three-year base term.

Please enjoy the full article below!

http://www.insurancejournal.com/news/southeast/2016/07/26/421219.htm#

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

Citizens Board of Governors has approved recommended rates for 2017 that equal an average rate increase of nearly 7 percent statewide. The company said the increase is a necessary response to rising non-weather water losses and assignment of benefit (AOB) abuse that is now affecting all regions of the state.

By unanimous vote, board members recommended the 6.8 percent statewide increases for personal lines policyholders, reversing a recent trend of lower rates for all but South Florida customers. Citizens said in a statement that the increase reflects the negative effects the company is experiencing from water losses, AOB abuse and increased litigation that has begun to spread across the state. Citizens’ rate package now goes to the Florida Office of Insurance Regulation (OIR) for approval.

 

Please read the full story below, but most carriers besides Citizens will do increases even larger than this. Beware to shop your rates at L & S Insurance S. Florida!!!

http://www.insurancejournal.com/news/southeast/2016/06/23/418122.htm

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

New Updates!!! we have 2 carriers who will also now take Poly Pipes, but not provide coverage for water damage claims. Not a great scenario, but another option to help your closings happen.

Poly Pipes which are grey and look like White PVC, but are Grey have been a huge problem since 2012. No company would accept them and they are a problem for any homeowner. Buyers need to beware that they can and will burst with water damage claims and then they can be 2-3 in a  year once it starts. sellers need to know that a buyer will need to replace them at some point so prices should be adjusted when a home is sold or purchased.

Citizens Insurance will now write a policy on a home that is less than 30 years of age and no history of any water damage claims!!! The claim issue is a huge one since the computers called CLUE will verify a claim has occurred and will cause issues after the policy is issued and after closing. I know most of you do not want issues with your deals and clients so please be careful. The pipes were used in the years 1080-1994 and 30 years old is 1986 and newer which covers most of those years!! The pipes still need to be dealt with, but at least most closings can now happen as long as the pipes are fully disclosed and the cost of repairs is reflected in the sales price. I hope this helps most of you and please remember to give us a call. Please call L & S at 1-888-244-7400 for quotes on Home, Flood, Auto, Business & Commercial, & Life & Financial products as well. Please come to one of my Insurance lunch and learn classes soon or let me know if you have interest in having me do a class at your office.

Thank you and happy selling!!
Lee the HomeInsuranceGuru!!

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

The frequency and severity of water loss claims in Florida have increased every year since 2010, according to data call results from the Florida Office of Insurance Regulation (OIR). During the same period, there has been a 10 percent increase in severity for claims with an assignment of benefits, (AOB).

The data call was ordered by OIR last October in response to what some in Florida are calling a troubling trend with AOB claims for water losses. OIR then analyzed the data in an effort to shed light on if the AOB provision is being misused in the state.

OIR examined 259,742 water claims – damage that resulted from water pipes bursting, leaks from appliances, etc. – from the top 25 insurers in the state. The reporting insurers, which make up 80.5 percent of the Florida homeowners market, submitted detailed claims information for homeowners (HO3) and dwelling fire (DF) policies in force as of June 30, 2015. The claims were to have closed between Jan. 1, 2010 and Sept. 30, 2015.

Insurers were also asked to include summary information by county for closed claims during that same period for all other perils (AOP), excluding hurricane and sinkhole, as well as open claims as of Oct. 1, 2015 for both AOP and water/roof claims.

The report said that, based on the analyzed data, the frequency of water loss claims has increased by 46 percent since 2010, equaling an average annual increase in frequency of 8.3 percent each year. The severity of water claims has increased 28 percent since 2010, representing an annual increase of 5.4 percent.

OIR’s report states that the combined impact of changes in frequency and severity result in an average increase in water losses of 14.2 percent each year.

State-backed Citizens Property Insurance Corp. has claimed that the increase in losses has been especially significant in Southeast Florida, but that it is starting to be felt in other regions as well. OIR’s data backed up this claim, saying Southeast Florida experienced a 43 percent increase in water claim frequency and a 39 percent increase in claim severity.

Statewide, claims frequency and severity was not as high but the frequency still increased by double-digits for all regions. Severity increased by double-digits in all regions as well, except for North Central Florida and Northeast Florida, which only saw single-digit increases.

“If there were no other perils covered under the policy and no changes in expenses from year to year, an insurer may need to increase its rates by 10 percent or more each year (depending on the insurer’s expenses) just to break even due to the increase in water losses,” OIR said.

Please enjoy the full article below.

http://www.insurancejournal.com/news/southeast/2016/03/02/400663.htm

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

 

Citizens said the policy contract changes (see below) were implemented to ensure that the use of emergency services is reasonable; that Citizens has the opportunity to assess the damage before additional permanent repairs are made; and that permanent repairs properly address the cause of the loss.

Specifically, the policy changes include:

  • In case of a loss to covered property, the revised policy contract requires policyholders to take emergency measures to protect insured property from further damage. Emergency measures only include what is reasonable and necessary to secure the home and prevent further damage, and may not exceed the greater of $3,000 or 1 percent of Coverage A limit, unless Citizens approves additional measures.
  • Second, to ensure that Citizens has the opportunity to inspect the damage and confirm coverage, the revised policy restricts when permanent repairs can begin. There may be no coverage for permanent repairs that begin before one of the following occurs: 72 hours after the loss is reported to Citizens, the loss is inspected by Citizens, or verbal or written approval is provided by Citizens. Note that these policy contract changes DO NOT require that a loss be reported within 72 hours.
  • Finally, when a home system (such as plumbing) suffers damage that causes a loss, Citizens has clarified that it will cover the access required to replace the part or portion of the system that caused the loss. Access to repair or replace parts and portions of the system not affected by the specific covered loss will not be covered.

The insurer said the revisions strike a balance between a policyholder’s need to make emergency repairs quickly and Citizens ability to control costs for all policyholders. The changes are needed, in part, to curb abuses involving assignment of benefits (AOB), under which policyholders give third party vendors the ability to control their claims following a loss, Citizens said. Citizens and other Florida insurance companies have warned the AOB problem with water loss claims is becoming a full-blown insurance market crisis.

“Protecting our policyholders after a loss remains the focus at Citizens,” said Chris Gardner, chairman of Citizens Board of Governors. “These changes will not affect our commitments to policyholders, but will help control costs, protect surplus and make sure we are ready when our customers need us most.”

 

Please enjoy the full article below!

http://www.insurancejournal.com/news/southeast/2016/05/10/408014.htm

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

Abuse of assignment of benefits (AOB) from water loss claims has become a full-blown Florida insurance crisis that will mean higher insurance rates next year and for the foreseeable future for every Florida policyholder, according to Citizens Property Insurance Corp. CEO Barry Gilway and Chief Risk Officer John Rollins.

“We are going to have a round of rate increases from private carriers,” said Rollins. “South Florida will definitely have a rate increase. The question is more open in the rest of the state, but the trends are very disturbing.”

Private insurer executives have echoed the warning—and say hikes of as much as $1 billion will be needed.

The issue now most commonly referred to as just “AOB” took center stage at the Florida Association for Insurance Reform’s conference on April 28. Several industry experts said AOB is no longer just a problem for Citizens, the state-backed property insurer, and maintained the impact will go far beyond rates if the “crisis” isn’t addressed. The overall Florida market will also suffer, especially if the state is hit by a serious catastrophe.

“[AOB] is also trickling into the reinsurance pricing,” Bruce Lucas, chairman & CEO of Heritage Insurance said at the FAIR event. “The number one question asked of us by reinsurers is, ‘What are you doing about AOB?’ because after a storm, it could be a big issue.”

Citizens, which has seen AOB claims skyrocket, was the first to highlight the issue in its rate filing last summer. Now the insurer is retooling its efforts to combat the AOB abuse in light of Florida lawmakers’ failure to enact a legislative solution.

Please enjoy the full article below!

http://www.insurancejournal.com/news/southeast/2016/05/03/407257.htm

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

The Florida Cabinet has selected David Altmaier to be the state’s new insurance commissioner.

Altmaier, 34, is currently a deputy commissioner within the Florida Office of Insurance Regulation. He will replace Kevin McCarty, who is stepping down after 13 years on the job

Altmaier was one of three candidates, all OIR employees, interviewed at a special Cabinet meeting today.

He was selected after members of the Cabinet could not agree at previous meetings or at today’s on other candidates including Rep. Bill Hager; Jeffrey Bragg, a former federal insurance official; or Belinda Miller, who is OIR chief of staff.

Florida law requires that the governor and CFO must agree on the choice of an insurance commissioner, who can then be hired with the support of at least one other Cabinet member.

Attorney General Pam Bondi and Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam joined Gov. Rick Scott and CFO Jeff Atwater in supporting Altmaier.

 

Please enjoy the full article below!

http://www.insurancejournal.com/news/southeast/2016/04/29/407083.htm

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