August 2015

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.


Please be sure to call L & S Insurance at -1-888-244-7400 for quotes on Home, Auto, Flood, Private Flood, Business & Commercial & Life & Financial products as well. The new Maps are still Preliminary and could be updated again. The new changes will start in Mid January and about 76,000 homes will need to start to have a new Flood Policy where one was not needed before. Most people do not understand the risk of Flood, but ask people in N.J. from Hurricane Sandy and they will tell you otherwise. Please be prepared and check your information now. You can call Lee at L & S at x-209 for a class at your office soon to review the maps with your agents.

Tropical Storm Danny is expected to strengthen into the first Atlantic hurricane of the season and although it is churning miles away from the Florida coast, now is the time to prepare.   For most, this means stocking up on food, water, candles, plywood or fuel. Although this is an important measure, now is also the time to review your property insurance policy to ensure you have proper coverage for a windstorm event.   As Benjamin Franklin once said, “By failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail.”

Some of the most common mistakes a property owner can make are not having enough, or any, coverage for certain items such as screen enclosures, flood or the increased cost to repair a property due to the enforcement of a building code.  Many property owners are also caught off guard by their hurricane deductible which can be in excess of 2% of the total policy limits.

If you own a business, take the time to identify the critical functions of your business and create a plan to implement those functions in the event of a hurricane.  The plan should address crisis communications, key personnel, access to funds, information technology and the minimum requirements to keep your business running.  You should also test the critical functions of your business that are most vulnerable during a hurricane including servers, workstations, network, building security, phones, supply chain, staff procedures, etc.   It is also prudent to review your insurance policy to determine whether you have sufficient business income and extra expense coverage in the event you must temporarily cease operations due to a hurricane.

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

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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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!!

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.

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

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

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.