August 2014

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The Flood Agency, which offers private flood coverage that are backed by the surplus lines insurer Lloyd’s Private Flood, announced the move some nine months after it began offering the coverage.

The Gainesville-based agency’s decision affects Pinellas, Hillsborough, Pasco, Sarasota and Manatee counties. Flood Agency President Evan Hecht told reporters the decision to stop providing new policies in those areas are based on the need to balance Lloyd’s exposure.

“We currently insure more than $250 million of property value,” said Hecht. “Too much of that is in those five counties.”

The Gainesville-based agency, which provides coverage in 24 states, started offering the policies last fall in response to the Biggert-Waters Flood Insurance Reform Act of 2012.

At the time, the agency-marketed policies were considered a marked relief from the National Flood Insurance Program, whose policies were due to greatly increase. Additionally, the NFIP was scheduled to end subsidies on homes built before 1974, a move that would effect some 268,000 Florida residents.

The U.S. Congress later approved Biggert-Waters 2013 capping many rate increases while reinstating subsidies. That has slowed the demand for private policies, but state lawmakers and others still believe a private flood market could in time become a viable option to the NFIP.

Holehouse Insurance Agency Vice President Jake Holehouse said the current need for private flood coverage is among secondary homes, rentals and commercial coverage that are still bearing the brunt of NFIP rate increases.

Holehouse said the Flood Agency should be commended for providing private flood insurance at a crucial time. He also said he is optimistic that more private insurers will eventually enter the market.

“They are going to be selective and manage their capacity and exposure,” said Holehouse. “There is also going to be more risk-based rating with more and more emphasis being on properties’ elevation.”

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The recent legislative session in Tallahassee was relatively quiet, a matter some attribute to this being an election year. But even in quiet years, Florida lawmakers tend to make some noise about the insurance industry and this year was no different.

When insurance is a topic among Florida lawmakers, the surplus lines industry is typically brought into the discussions, more so than in other states.

Douglas Mang, of the law firm Mang & Santurri, P.A., who serves as general counsel for the Florida Surplus Lines Association, says there is a good reason for this. The legislature deals with difficult insurance issues and the surplus lines industry specializes in answering difficult questions.

“When there is a need, then it’s the surplus lines industry that fills that void. They have in many, many instances, at least during the time that I’ve been involved with it,” Mang toldInsurance Journal. “So they should be in the mix, if for no better reason than that’s their whole purpose, to provide a market for the hard‑to‑place risk. When those issues arise, that’s where they ought to be.”

Some of what Florida lawmakers did this session could create opportunities for the surplus lines industry, whereas in other cases, their actions frustrated opportunities for the surplus lines industry.

Lawmakers agreed to make changes to laws governing insurance agent and surplus lines licensing (HB633), private flood insurance (SB542), a homeowners’ bill of rights (SB708) and, of course, Citizens Property Insurance Corp. (SB1672).

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Please call L & S Insurance at 1-888-244-7400 for quotes on Home, Flood, Auto, Business & Commercial, & Life & Financial products as well. Please use the link below to look up Palm Beach County Flood Information.

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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.

Thousand of customers of Citizens Property Insurance Corp. might be switched to other insurers without realizing they have a choice.

The state is allowing four private insurance companies to select nearly 100,000 policies to take over from Citizens by fall. Property owners can opt out of the switch, but the process has created confusion among policyholders, according to insurance agents and consumer advocates.

“It’s a disaster — no one understands,” said Pembroke Pines insurance agent Jonathan D. Rausch, who has fielded calls from homeowners after insurance companies sent letters announcing that the state approved them to “take out” policies from Citizens.

Some 119,434 Citizens policies have already been assumed by private insurers in the first seven months of this year.

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On Friday, the Office of Insurance Regulation announced a new round of takeovers. It approved the removal from Citizens of up to 91,499 multiperil personal residential policies and 5,732 commercial lines polices.

Homeowners who want to stay with Citizens are required to send in an opt-out form, which is included in the letters. In previous cases, the letters often did not include information about rates.

Citizens will send a follow-up letter that explains the benefits of private-market coverage and reminds customers that they can stay with Citizens, spokesman Michael Peltier said.

Ideally, Citizens would like to reduce its number of policies to 650,000 to 700,000, Peltier said. It’s now down to 933,422 after reaching a peak of 1.4 million in April 2012.


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Florida Insurance Consumer Advocate Steve Burgess is concerned that some homeowners may not even open a letter from one of the state-approved companies.

“The question is: Do they read it?” he asked. If they don’t, they might be switched to another company without knowing it, Burgess said.

Federated National Holding Co., a Florida-based property/casualty insurer, announced the closing of its public offering of 2,358,975 shares of its common stock, which includes 307,692 shares sold pursuant to the exercise of the 30-day option granted to the underwriters to cover overallotments, at a price to the public of $19.50 per share.

The offering generated net proceeds to the company of approximately $43.4 million, after deducting the underwriter’s discount but before offering expenses.

The company said it will use the net proceeds from the sale for general working capital purposes, including as statutory capital in support of the company’s growth and to sustain its capital levels after its investment in a new Florida homeowners insurance company that it is forming.

The company announced  recently that it was joining with the Canadian bank and investment manager C.A. Bancorp Inc. to form a new Florida-based homeowners insurance carrier to be named Monarch National Insurance Co. Each party is putting up $14 million in the new venture, while Transatlantic Reinsurance Co. will have a minority position with a $5 million investment.

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;

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