October 2016


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Florida’s streak of dodging hurricanes is over, but the state-created fund that helps private insurers pay out claims after a storm remains in strong financial shape.

Anne Bert, the chief operating officer of the Florida Hurricane Catastrophe Fund, said preliminary estimates predict that the fund will pay out less than $200 million for Hurricane Matthew. Bert said it appears there will likely be only minimal payouts associated with Hurricane Hermine.

The fund’s advisory council on Tuesday approved new financial estimates that show the fund has roughly $17.5 billion available and could borrow $7.7 billion more if needed.

The financial health of the fund is important because the state can impose a surcharge on most insurance policies to replenish it if the money runs out. Some critics have called the surcharge a “hurricane tax.”

http://www.insurancejournal.com/news/southeast/2016/10/20/429845.htm

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Almost 1 million customers were still without power in the U.S. Southeast Monday after Hurricane Matthew brought devastating wind gusts and flooding to North Carolina, leaving at least 10 dead in the state.

Duke Energy Corp., owner of North Carolina’s largest utilities, estimated power may not be restored to some customers before Sunday. More than 153,000 were blacked out in Florida as of about 2 p.m. New York time Monday, with about 675,000 without power from Georgia to southeastern Virginia, according to data compiled by Bloomberg from utility websites.

The National Weather Service on Monday issued flood warnings for parts of central and eastern North Carolina after as much as 15 inches (38 centimeters) of rain in some spots. The storm made landfall Saturday in South Carolina and has now dissipated in the Atlantic.

“Flooding, downed trees and power lines have resulted in major power outages to our region, and we have discovered more than 800 broken poles and miles of downed lines – and still counting,” Duke Energy storm director Bobby Simpson said in a Sunday statement. Flooded roads blocked some repairs, the company said.

Matthew appears to have spared Florida’s citrus belt, with “negligible” harm to oranges and about 10 percent of the grapefruit crop blown from trees, Florida Citrus Mutual spokesman Andrew Meadows said Monday by phone. Flooding will delay the cotton harvest in North Carolina and South Carolina and may reduce its quality, Kyle Tapley, a meteorologist for MDA Weather Services, said by phone Monday from Gaithersburg, Maryland.

 

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http://www.insurancejournal.com/news/southeast/2016/10/10/428931.htm

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Citizens Property Insurance Corp. is urging its policyholders to call Citizens first to report losses following Hurricane Matthew in order to protect themselves from assignment of benefit (AOB) scams, according to a statement from the company.

“Citizens is ready to assist our policyholders as they begin their recovery from Hurricane Matthew and get their lives back in order,” said Barry Gilway, Citizens president, CEO and executive director. “Our claims representatives are ready to help. All you have to do is call.”

In its warning to its customers, Citizens said, “Unfortunately, unscrupulous contractors and repair companies thrive in the frenzied days following any storm. Policyholders must be wary of unlicensed contractors or deals that sound too good to be true.”

The company said to protect themselves, policyholders who have experienced a loss from the storm should call Citizens first to ensure they stay in control of their claim. Further, Citizens advises policyholders not to sign anything, including an assignment of benefit, before consulting with Citizens or their insurance agent.

“Here’s why. You may be signing away your rights and be left with unfinished repairs or forced to pay a contractor for repairs not covered by your policy. The policy may also place a limit on emergency repairs until Citizens is notified to inspect damage before permanent repairs are made,” the company said

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http://www.insurancejournal.com/news/southeast/2016/10/10/428833.htm