October 2018


Please call Lee at 954-270-7966 for free quotes on Home Insurance, Auto, Flood, Private Flood, Car, Business & Commercial policies & Life, Health and all types of group & Financial products.

Three contractors conducting business in Leon, Gadsden, and Gulf counties have been removed from the Panhandle by the Florida Department of Financial Services’ Disaster Fraud Action Strike Team for unlicensed activity following Hurricane Michael, according to a statement from Florida Chief Financial Officer and State Fire Marshal Jimmy Patronis.

The contractors are banned from soliciting or conducting any work in Florida pending a full investigation

The fraud teams, formed last year after Hurricane Irma to stay ahead of post-storm fraud, are investigating reports of potential fraud in Bay, Gulf, Washington, and Leon counties. The Strike Team was activated before Hurricane Michael made landfall and had boots on the ground immediately following the storm.

Initials sweeps have been made in Liberty, Gadsden, Gulf, and Leon counties. First sweeps in Bay, Jackson and Washing counties are ongoing. Secondary sweeps in the impacted areas will begin this week.

“Anyone who tries to take advantage of Florida families and businesses during this vulnerable time will be caught,” Patronis said. “I can’t stress this enough: do not hire anyone without asking for their professional license information and if they have workers’ comp insurance.”

Unlicensed activity can put homeowners and contractors at risk and opens the door to fraud. Consumers should always verify that contractors have the appropriate licenses, including workers’ compensation coverage, before they hire a company to assist in repairs after a storm, DFS said.

To report any suspicious activity call CFO Patronis’ help line at 1-877-MY-FL-CFO

Please call Lee from Acentria Insurance at 954-270-7966 for free quotes on Home Insurance, Auto, Flood, private Flood, Car, Business & Commercial policies and Life, health and all types of group policies as well for individuals or businesses large and small.

More than a week after Hurricane Michael slammed into the Florida Panhandle, authorities are reporting three more deaths from the Category 4 storm as residents returning to their homes try to piece together their lives from the rubble left by strong winds and storm surge.

Michael slammed into Florida’s Panhandle with 155 mph (250 kph) winds on Oct. 10, retained hurricane-force winds as far inland as southern Georgia, and also affected the Carolinas and Virginia. Six deaths were reported in Virginia, mostly from flash flooding. North Carolina had three deaths, and Georgia had one.

 

Florida’s death toll stood at 17 on Thursday, said Emergency Management Division spokesman Alberto Moscoso. The official number included an additional death from Liberty County, and others confirmed as storm-related by district medical examiners, including 12 from the hardest hit Bay County.

Additionally, three more deaths have been confirmed as storm-related to bring Bay County’s total to 15 deaths, according to Whit Majors, chief investigator for the district medical examiner’s office. Majors said those deaths were reported to state emergency management officials. It wasn’t immediately clear why they were not yet added to the statewide tally.

Across the region, stunned residents continued picking up the pieces on Thursday, as many remained without electricity.

Please enjoy the full article below;

https://www.insurancejournal.com/news/southeast/2018/10/19/505137.htm

Please call Lee from Acentria Insurance at 954-270-7966 for free quotes on Home Insurance, Auto, Flood, private Flood, Car, Business & Commercial policies and Life, health and all types of group policies as well for individuals or businesses large and small.

In an effort to keep the Florida assignment of benefits (AOB) crisis from further worsening in the state, Florida’s insurance industry, regulators and consumer advocates are on high alert for AOB activity in the wake of Hurricane Michael and working to educate consumers on the pitfalls of signing over their policy rights.

“Consumers need all the information they can get to help navigate making repairs to their homes and vehicles, and we’re working hard to provide resources to help prevent Floridians from becoming victims of AOB scams,” said Mark Wilson, president and CEO of the Florida Chamber of Commerce, which spearheads the Consumer Protection Coalition, formed in 2017 to tackle the state’s AOB epidemic.

pressuring some to sign an assignment of benefits contract. Check with your insurance agent, insurance company, or call my office before you sign anything,” Florida CFO Jimmy Patronis warned in an Oct. 15 press release from the Department of Financial Services. “Storms bring out the best in people, but unfortunately, they bring out the worst in some. If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.”

Florida’s AOB problem has stemmed from unlicensed water remediation and roofing contractors who have homeowners sign over their insurance policy rights in exchange for needed repairs to their homes, and then file inflated or fake claims with the insurer. When those claims are disputed or denied, these contractors file a lawsuit that insurers are often left footing the bill for.

Carriers across the state have seen an increase in litigation because of inflated claims, which is leading to increased costs for policyholders. According to the Florida Department of Financial Services, there were 405 AOB lawsuits across all 67 Florida counties in 2006, and by 2016 that number had risen to 28,200.

State officials have warned that the AOB issue could become even worse in the aftermath of a large-scale disaster, such as Hurricane Michael, due to a large number of claims triggering a contractor shortage, and people who are anxious to get repairs started on their homes assigning their insurance policy benefits to contractors.

Florida Insurance Commissioner David Altmaier said before Michael hit that scenario was one of his biggest concerns, and noted the quick handling of claims would help ensure people are not taken advantage of

Please enjoy the full article below;

https://www.insurancejournal.com/news/southeast/2018/10/18/504876.htm

Please call Lee from Acentria Insurance at 954-270-7966 for free quotes on Home Insurance, Auto, Flood, private Flood, Car, Business & Commercial policies and Life, health and all types of group policies as well for individuals or businesses large and small.

Florida’s insurance regulator has issued an emergency order that ensures “additional protections” to Florida policyholders – including freezing any rate hikes for 90 days – to support recovery efforts in areas impacted by Hurricane Michael.

The order by Florida Insurance Commissioner David Altmaier suspending and activating certain insurance rules was issued Oct. 15 in response to an executive order by Florida Gov. Rick Scott.

The order requires that insurers:

  1. Provide an additional 90 days to policyholders to supply required information to their insurance company. Many Floridians were displaced during this dangerous storm, and providing additional time to submit information to insurance companies gives them needed flexibility.
  2. Rescind for 90 days all non-renewals or cancellations issued to policyholders in the days leading up to Hurricane Michael. This gives policyholders 90 days to either renew their insurance policy, or find a new policy; and
  3. Freeze any and all efforts to increase rates on policyholders for 90 days.

“Governor Scott and Chief Financial Officer Jimmy Patronis have made it clear that the expectation for Florida’s insurance companies is to expeditiously respond to policyholders’ needs and to treat families fairly. The quick response of insurance companies is critical to the recovery of Florida families following Hurricane Michael,” according to a statement from the governor’s office.

Altmaier said the Florida Office of Insurance Regulation is working to “ensure every possible step that can be taken to assist those impacted by Hurricane Michael will be executed as soon as possible.”

Please enjoy the full article below;

https://www.insurancejournal.com/news/southeast/2018/10/16/504583.htm

 

Please call Lee from Acentria Insurance at 954-270-7966 for free quotes on Home Insurance, Auto, Flood, private Flood, Car, Business & Commercial Insurance as well as Life , Health and all group benefits large & small

This article talks about coverage being available for most carriers, but not about prices. Reinsurance carriers suffering losses will raise rates to the carriers who will trickle it down to the consumer. The hope is that non renewal letters do not go out, putting many back into Citizens Insurance where they are not wanted or welcome, but may have to be???

 

Losses to the insurance industry from Hurricane Michael, a Category 4 storm that hit the Florida Panhandle before continuing a path of destruction through several other Southeast states, will be substantial but not enough to cause problems for insurers or a pullback in capacity, experts say.

Ohio-based ratings firm Demotech, which rates 52 Florida-based insurers as well as others in surrounding states affected by Michael, said these companies are well positioned to handle losses. “Demotech believes that each of the carriers that we review and rate that are exposed to loss and LAE from Hurricane Michael have in place a rigorous and vigorous catastrophe reinsurance program,” Demotech President Joseph L. Petrelli told Insurance Journal.

Others agree that Florida’s heavily-reinsured domestic insurers and an overall well-capitalized insurance industry should be able to handle Michael’s losses without major disruption.

A report by A.M. Best said depending on the severity of losses, primary insurers will likely share the loss burden with traditional reinsurers and alternative capital providers. Reinsurers with an outsize concentration in Florida will be more vulnerable than those with globally diversified catastrophe exposures, Moody’s said.

Please enjoy the full article below;

https://www.insurancejournal.com/news/southeast/2018/10/15/504465.htm

Please call Lee from Acentria Insurance at 954-270-7966 for free quotes on Home Insurance, Auto, Flood, private Flood, Car, Business & Commercial Insurance as well as Life , Health and all group benefits large & small

Images compiled by Insurance Journal show the devastation to the Florida Panhandle caused by Hurricane Michael, which hit the region Oct. 10 as a Category 4 storm. Loss estimates range from $3 to $9 billion, according to catastrophe modelers, and some reports say the economic impact could be more than $25 billion.

Please watch this video and help all you can!

https://www.insurancejournal.com/news/southeast/2018/10/12/504423.htm

 

Please call Lee from Acentria Insurance at 954-270-7966 for free quotes on Home Insurance, Auto, Flood, private Flood, Car, Business & Commercial Insurance as well as Life , Health and all group benefits large & small

Insurers, reinsurers and ILS investors could face significant losses from Hurricane Michael, a major Category 4 storm that began its assault on the Florida Panhandle Wednesday, according to a briefing from A.M. Best.

Best said although Florida’s insurance market-share leaders possess strong levels of risk-adjusted capitalization that should provide a buffer against Hurricane Michael losses, there will still be an impact for insurers writing in the state, according to a new A.M. Best briefing.

Furthermore, while nearly all A.M. Best-rated Florida property companies have substantial property catastrophe premium, some have strategically limited their exposures in the panhandle, and therefore are not significantly exposed to this hurricane.

“However, the question of how the state’s relatively new, Florida-specific insurers might withstand the impact of substantial insurable losses caused by Hurricane Michael remains,” Best noted. “In addition, depending on the storm’s intensity after making landfall, the potential for insurable losses could put some pressure on reinsurers. The actual impact of the hurricane will depend on a number of yet undetermined factors, but A.M. Best believes that most of the affected rated carriers have sufficient capital and appropriate reinsurance programs to withstand this event effectively.”

Please enjoy the full article below;
https://www.insurancejournal.com/news/southeast/2018/10/12/504020.htm

Please call Lee from Acentria Insurance at 954-270-7966 for free quotes on Home Insurance, Auto, Flood, private Flood, Car, Business & Commercial Insurance as well as Life , Health and all group benefits large & small.

Hurricane Michael, a Category 4 storm hitting Florida Wednesday with wind speeds of more than 150 miles per hour, is not just a major storm for the State of Florida, it is the strongest storm to hit the Florida Panhandle since hurricane records began, according to AIR Worldwide.

In an update released Wednesday from the catastrophe modeling firm, AIR said while there have been several other storms in recent history that have intensified more rapidly—Wilma increased from a 70 mph tropical storm to a 170 mph Category 5 in one day—what is unique about Michael is where it occurred: just prior to landfall, in an area that has never experienced a storm of this intensity.

“Not only is Michael potentially historic for where it will make landfall, it is also unique in terms of when,” AIR said. “If preliminary reports about Michael’s landfall near Mexico Beach, Fla., are correct, Michael will be recorded as the most intense hurricane on record to have struck land in the North Atlantic basin (which includes the Gulf of Mexico and Caribbean) in the month of October.”

AIR noted that to date, the strongest hurricanes impacting the Florida Panhandle were all Category 3 storms. Among them, the 1917 unnamed storm #4, hurricanes Opal 1995, Ivan 2004 (an Alabama landfall that impacted Florida), and Dennis 2005. All four storms made landfall west of where Hurricane Michael struck.

The Florida Panhandle went nearly 80 years before experiencing another major hurricane. Opal in 1995 made landfall east of Pensacola with 115 mph winds. As with Hurricane Michael, Opal made use of the extremely warm water of the Gulf of Mexico, as well as favorable upper-level conditions, and rapidly intensified to a Category 4 hurricane before weakening and making landfall as a Category 3, AIR said.

Please enjoy the full article below;

https://www.insurancejournal.com/news/southeast/2018/10/10/504018.htm

Please be sure to call Lee from Acentria Insurance at 954-270-7966 for free quotes on Home Insurance, Auto, Flood, Private Flood, Car, Business & Commercial & Life, Health & all group benefits.

 

Two recent decisions from the Florida Supreme Court that reversed rulings by the same District Court of Appeal will have a serious impact on the insurance industry.

The consequential rulings came on Sept. 20, 2018 in the cases of Harvey v. GEICO General Insurance Co., and Odom v. R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co. in which the Florida Supreme Court’s used its power of discretionary review to reverse decisions by the Fourth District Court of Appeal.

Harvey v. GEICO General Insurance Co.

In Harvey v. GEICO General Insurance Co., No. SC17-85, So. 3d (Fla. Sept. 20, 2018), the Florida Supreme Court found there was support for a jury’s finding of bad faith and held that the Fourth District “misstated” the law. It’s 4-3 ruling reversed a Fourth District Court of Appeal decision siding with GEICO General Insurance Co. in a $9.2 million judgement against the insurer.

The case stemmed from an automobile accident that caused a man’s death by the plaintiff’s vehicle, which was covered under an insurance liability policy of $100,000 through GEICO. The auto insurer tried to settle the matter by providing the man’s estate with a check for the full policy limits. The estate argued that GEICO failed to provide a statement from the insured plaintiff, which might have indicated the plaintiff’s assets.

The estate returned the check and filed a wrongful death suit against the plaintiff, and a jury awarded the estate $8.47 million.

The plaintiff then filed a bad faith claim against GEICO, claiming that the attorney for the estate would have advised the estate to settle for the insurance policy limits had he known that the plaintiff would not have sufficient assets to cover a potential jury award. The jury found that GEICO had acted in bad faith and awarded the plaintiff a judgment of $9.2 million. GEICO appealed and the Fourth District Court of Appeals reversed the award, concluding that the plaintiff had not provided sufficient evidence of bad faith because even if GEICO acted deficiently, it did not cause the excess judgment against the plaintiff.

In the Sept. 20 majority opinion to reverse Fourth DCA’s decision by the Florida Supreme Court, Justice Quince, joined by Justices Pariente, Lewis, and Labarga, found there was competent, substantial evidence to support the jury’s finding of bad faith, and held that the Fourth District “misstated” the law.

Justices Canady and Polston dissented in separate opinions, joined by Justice Lawson, that the Florida Supreme Court lacked jurisdiction to hear the case because the Fourth District Court’s opinion did not expressly and directly conflict with prior Florida Supreme Court decisions.

Please enjoy the full article below;

https://www.insurancejournal.com/news/southeast/2018/10/02/502957.htm