March 2014

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).

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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.


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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.

FLOOD INSURANCE BILL ADVANCES TO SENATE FLOORSenate Bill 542 by Senator Brandes was heard by the Full Senate this week. The senate adopted an amendment making clear that insurers offering flood coverage could provide coverage’s beyond those specified in the bill, including a wrap policy available to National Flood Insurance Program insureds to supplement coverage available in that policy. The Senate has removed provisions allowing insurers with surplus of at least $35 million to avoid filing a three year pro forma and reinsurance plan prior to writing, effectively requiring all insurers to file such a plan before entering the flood market. The biggest point of contention between the house and senate involves the senate bill provision allowing policyholders to only purchase enough flood insurance coverage to pay the mortgage holder. While this would provide lower cost options to policyholders, it would leave many without the means to repair their houses after a flood. In addition, it would place greater pressure on wind insurers by policyholders attempting to get their homes fixed by claiming wind, not flood, caused the damage. Bryan Nelson, House Insurance Committee Chairman is dead set against this mortgage coverage limit approach. Some in the legislature question why any bill is needed at all, in light of the Federal pushback of the provisions of Biggert Waters. The House will be hearing its bill in the House Governmental Operations Subcommittee this week.SENATE PASSES UNDERWRITING CRITERIA FOR PERSONAL LINES PROPERTY INSURANCE REGARDING FIREARMSSB 424 by Senator Tom Lee passed the Senate this week. HB 255 by Representative Gaetz has been added to the House calendar; however, it is similar to SB 424 and the House could take up the Senate-passed measure which would expedite this legislation reaching the Governor’s desk. This legislation prohibits a property and casualty insurer or automobile insurer from refusing to underwrite, issue, reissue, or renew a policy, cancel or otherwise terminate a policy, or change a discriminatory rate based on an insured’s household member’s lawful use, possession, or ownership of a firearm or ammunition. The inclusion of ammunition was added by the Appropriations Committee. Additionally, the bill prohibits an insurer from disclosing the insured’s ownership of a firearm to a third party unless the insurer discloses to the insured a specific need to disclose the information and the insured consents to the disclosure. An insurer may charge a supplemental premium for a separate rider voluntarily requested by an applicant to insure a firearm or firearm collection that exceeds the standard policy coverage, so long as it is not unfairly discriminatory. For underwriting purposes, an insurer is not prohibited from sharing such information with its licensed insurance agent when a separate rider has been voluntarily requested by an applicant.FLORIDA HURRICANE CATASTROPHE FUND LEGISLATION IS MOVINGSB 391 by Senator Hager passed the Insurance and Banking Subcommittee and is scheduled to be heard by the Government Operations Appropriations Subcommittee this week. The bill reduces the mandatory coverage limit of the Florida Hurricane Catastrophe Fund (“CAT Fund”) from $17 billion to $14 billion over three years beginning June 1, 2015. The bill allows insurers to purchase coverage above the $14 billion limit in $1 billion increments up to $17 billion to cover potential shortfalls in the CAT Fund.Other bills, including SB 610 by Senator Lee, and SB 228 by Senator Ring, also seek to reduce the mandatory coverage level of the CAT Fund.  Lee’s bill would reduce it by $5.2 billion, and Ring’s bill which lowers it even further, have not been heard.

Please call L & S Insurance at -1888-244-7400 for quotes on Home, Auto, Business & Commercial & life Insurance & Financial products as well.


Just other company trying to cheat the system and try to win. The state of Florida and the OIR in Tallahassee  are on top of this issue and busting people every week. This guy, was trying to file claims on Cars with Diminished value for people who did not want or ask to have a claim filed. 300,000K later he is now caught and going to jail and 50-560 counts against him. Not real smart, but here in Fort Lauderdale, and all of South Florida, Insurance Fraud is big, but as they get caught Car Insurance rates may finally start to fall. This article below was sent to us by our friends at First State Insurance. Please call L & S Insurance at 1-888-244-7400 for quotes on Home, Auto, Flood, Business & Commercial, and Life & Financial products as well.,0,4792295.story

The House and Senate in Washington D.C. are ready to put this old bill(Biggert – Waters) behind us. This was a bill that was hard fought and passed in 2012, when almost no bills were passed so this was purely political in nature for sure. In the meantime, the President will sign it and make Flood Insurance easier for a while, but in 3-4  years the problem will resurface for sure. In Tallahassee, our Legislators will also pass the Private Flood bill so Flood Insurance should not be as much of an issue like it would have been for many in Fort Lauderdale, Tarpon Springs and all over Florida. Please read the full article below and please call L & S Insurance at 1-888-244-7400 for quotes on Home, Flood, Auto, Business & Commercial, and Life & Financial products as well.


Now the House and Senate have approved and President Obama will soon sign it into Law. This will basically put everything back the way it was before October 1st 2013. Fort Lauderdale, South Florida, Tarpon Springs Tampa, and all of Florida will be in a better situation for at least 3-4 more years until the 5 years is up from the Original Biggert-Waters bill. The following changes will occur;

Anyone who was charged more will be getting refunds.

Subsidized rates will again be allowed we hope.

The 25 Billion dollar deficit will remain unchecked till another solution is found.

Rate Hikes will be capped off at 15-18% per year.

And Grandfather clauses will be maintained till July of 2017 when a new bill must be reached and agreed upon.

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

Please call L and S Insurance at 1-888-244-7400 for Flood Insurance info and quotes on Home, Flood, Auto, Business and Commercial, Life and financial products as well.
You can use the interactive map viewing tool to find out if your home or business is in a flood zone. To use the tool, follow these steps:

1. Click on the search tool below.
2. Type in the address of your property in the area at the top right, above the map titled “Find address or place”, and click on the magnifying glass to search.
3. Use the tool on the left side of the map to zoom in and locate your property.
4. Click on your property and the 2011 FEMA Flood Designations box will let you know your current and proposed FEMA flood zone designation.

This bill will now be called the Grimm-Waters bill and takes back the Biggert-Waters bill and stops it in the path it was on. This is a huge win for Homeowner’s and the Real estate industry. The homes that were always, Location, Location, Location, also were huge targets for Biggert-Waters. Older homes that are Pre- Firm or on the water were most likely to be hit hard. Grimm-Water’s will allow the Subsidies to come back and cap Price increases. The rule will be 10-18% or a max of 1% of coverage A which will be $250 at most per year. Obviously Flood Insurance rates still have to increase for FEMA to pay back the Fed on it’s bail out since they are still in debt about 25Billion. FEMA seems to be taking the blame for all of this, but I do not see it this way. FEMA simply rolled out the bill passed in July 2012 and now they will roil out this bill. This is an election year so Politics won this fight for now, but a win is a win for a short While Florida Politicians in Tall. will still be forging on with a Private Flood bill because this bill will still have to be changed after FEMA completes a Feasibility study for 3 years or so and then decide what else they can do. Lot’s of Information to Inhale, but residents of Fort Lauderdale, Tarpon Springs and all along the coastline of Florida will now rest easier for a few years. Please read the full article below. Please call L & S Insurance at 1-888-244-7400 for quotes on Home, Auto, Flood, Business & Commercial, & Life & Financial products as well.

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