October 2021


Please call  Lee from  USAsurance Powered by WeInsure & Calle Financial. 954-270-7966 or 833-USAssure at the office. My email is lee@myUSAssurance.com . I am Your Insurance Consultant  about Home Insurance, Auto, Flood, Private Flood, Car, Life Insurance, Mortgage protection, Financial Products, Business  & Commercial Policies, & Group Products for business owners to give Employees benefits at no cost to the employer. My email is lee@myUSAssuranc

Florida’s Boyd Promises New Roof Cost and Solicitation Bills

October 29, 2021 Email This Subscribe to Newsletter Email to a friend Facebook Tweet LinkedIn Print Article

Despite recent signals that another round of significant property insurance reforms may be put on the back burner in the upcoming Florida legislative session, a leading committee chair said this week that more needs to be done.

Sen. Jim Boyd, R-Bradenton, chair of the Senate Banking and Insurance Committee, said he will file bills to address roof-replacement costs and solicitation of homeowners by roofers trying to game the system, according to Florida Politics news website.

Sen. Jim Boyd

The Florida Legislature last year barred some solicitation tactics by roofers, many of whom have advertised that homes can get new roofs at no cost, with everything billed to the insurer, even if only a few shingles are damaged. A court temporarily blocked that part of the law, Senate Bill 76, saying it violated roofers’ right to free speech.

“I understand free speech, and I certainly support and appreciate that,” Boyd said at the annual meeting of Florida TaxWatch, a think tank. “But those that are out there causing the problems by doing things that aren’t right, there’s a question as to how much they should be protected.”

He added: “I still think there ought to be a way to hold unscrupulous solicitations accountable.”

Boyd also promised something that property insurers have asked for repeatedly: A bill that would limit roof-damage expenses. Florida law now requires that most policies cover the full replacement value of a roof if more than 25% of the shingles are damaged. Insurance advocates want to be allowed to offer some policies that pay only actual cash value of the roof. The changes did not make it into bills passed last year.

The changes would help reduce insurance loss costs, which have soared, insurers have said, as roof replacement prices have spiraled and denied claims have resulted in excessive litigation.

The Florida legislative session starts Jan. 11.

Please call  Lee from  USAsurance Powered by WeInsure & Calle Financial. 954-270-7966 or 833-USAssure at the office. My email is lee@myUSAssurance.com . I am Your Insurance Consultant  about Home Insurance, Auto, Flood, Private Flood, Car, Life Insurance, Mortgage protection, Financial Products, Business  & Commercial Policies, & Group Products for business owners to give Employees benefits at no cost to the employer. My email is lee@myUSAssurance.

Please call  Lee from  USAsurance Powered by WeInsure & Calle Financial. 954-270-7966 or 833-USAssure at the office. My email is lee@myUSAssurance.com . I am Your Insurance Consultant  about Home Insurance, Auto, Flood, Private Flood, Car, Life Insurance, Mortgage protection, Financial Products, Business  & Commercial Policies, & Group Products for business owners to give Employees benefits at no cost to the employer. My email is lee@myUSAssurance.

An insurance declarations page summarizes key policy informationAHome Media

Please call  Lee from  USAsurance Powered by WeInsure & Calle Financial. 954-270-7966 or 833-USAssure at the office. My email is lee@myUSAssurance.com . I am Your Insurance Consultant  about Home Insurance, Auto, Flood, Private Flood, Car, Life Insurance, Mortgage protection, Financial Products, Business  & Commercial Policies, & Group Products for business owners to give Employees benefits at no cost to the employer. My email is lee@myUSAssurance.

After you’ve purchased a car insurance policy, your insurer should mail you an insurance declarations page. This is a sheet of information that explains the most important facts about your policy. It can be useful to help you understand your coverage or to be used as proof of auto insurance.

In this article, we at the Home Media reviews team will explain the information typically covered on an insurance declarations page. If you’re shopping for an auto policy, start by reaching out for free, instant quotes from the best car insurance companies using the tool below.Compare car insurance quotesAnswer a few simple questions to save money on your policy

  • What’s on an insurance declarations page?
  • Do you need an insurance declarations page?
  • How to get your car insurance declarations page
  • Our recommendations for car insurance
  • Our methodology

What’s on an insurance declarations page?

An auto insurance declarations page, sometimes referred to as a dec page, provides a snapshot of the most important information related to your policy. This can include:

  • Policy number: A unique number attached to your policy, which you’ll need when you file an insurance claim, trade information after an accident or call your insurer for customer support
  • Policy effective date: The date your policy becomes effective and coverage begins
  • Agent information: Contact information for your insurance agent (if you have one)
  • Policyholder details: Your own name, address and phone number
  • Covered drivers: List of any drivers officially covered under the policy and any drivers that are excluded from coverage
  • Vehicle details: The year, make, model, vehicle identification number (VIN) and average mileage of the covered car or cars
  • Coverage details: Types of coverage included in the policy, coverage limits, deductibles, premiums and policy add-ons such as accident forgiveness
  • Policy period: The expiration date for your coverage (typically six or 12 months from the start date)
  • Loss payee: Any party with a vested interest in the vehicle, including the lender if you lease or finance your vehicle
  • Discounts: Some insurance declarations pages list the insurer discounts that are applied to your policy

Do you need an insurance declarations page?

You will be required to provide proof of insurance before you’re able to drive a newly purchased vehicle off the lot. An insurance declarations page can prove that you carry the minimum state liability limits.

Another reason to have an insurance declarations page is for your own quick reference. The page provides an overview of the most important information about your policy and can be helpful for understanding your coverage.

How to get your car insurance declarations page

After you sign up for a car insurance policy, your insurer will typically send you an insurance declarations page in the mail. If you buy car insurance online, most insurers will allow you to print your declarations page from their website. You can also call your insurer to ask to have a declarations page mailed to your address if you need an extra copy or lose your original.

Our recommendations for car insurance

If you don’t have car insurance or if you think you’re paying too much for car insurance, it’s worth comparing coverage and quotes from several insurers to see where you can get the best deal. Read more about Geico and Progressive, two of our top-rated insurance providers, below or use this tool to get free and quick car insurance quotes from some of the best insurers in your area:Compare car insurance quotesAnswer a few simple questions to save money on your policy

Geico: 9.1 out of 10.0

Geico is one of the largest insurers in the U.S. With Geico, customers can often find the cheapest insurance coverage in their state. This is thanks in part to Geico’s many car insurance discounts, which include:

  • Multi-policy discount
  • Multi-vehicle discount
  • Good driver discount
  • Good student discount
  • Safety feature discounts
  • New vehicle discount
  • Military discount
  • Emergency deployment discount
  • Federal employee discount

Geico not only offers cheap car insurance, but also excellent customer service. The provider scored above the industry average in every region in the J.D. Power 2020 U.S. Auto Insurance Satisfaction StudySM. It even ranked first place in three out of the 11 regions surveyed.

Progressive: 9.0 out of 10.0

Progressive is another good option for your insurance needs, especially if you are a high-risk driver who is either under 21, over 65 or has a DUI/DWI on your driving record. Progressive’s discount opportunities include:

  • Multi-policy discount
  • Multi-car discount
  • Homeowner discount
  • Teen driver discount
  • Good student discount
  • Distant student discount
  • Online quote discount
  • Paperless billing discount
  • Pay-in-full discount

Progressive is also a good choice for drivers who want to tailor their policy to their budget. The insurer’s Name Your Price® tool allows you to start building your policy and selecting coverage types based on what you want to pay.

To see how the two companies compare in detail, read our Geico vs. Progressive review.

Our methodology

Because consumers rely on us to provide objective and accurate information, we created a comprehensive rating system to formulate our rankings of the best car insurance companies. We collected data on dozens of auto insurance providers to grade the companies on a wide range of ranking factors. The end result was an overall rating for each provider, with the insurers that scored the most points topping the list.

Here are the factors our ratings take into account:

  • Reputation: Our research team considered market share, ratings from industry experts and years in business when giving this score.
  • Availability: Auto insurance companies with greater state availability and few eligibility requirements scored highest in this category.
  • Coverage: Companies that offer a variety of choices for insurance coverage are more likely to meet consumer needs.
  • Cost: Auto insurance rate estimates generated by Quadrant Information Services and discount opportunities were both taken into consideration.
  • Customer Experience: This score is based on volume of complaints reported by the NAIC and customer satisfaction ratings reported by J.D. Power. We also considered the responsiveness, friendliness and helpfulness of each insurance company’s customer service team based on our own shopper analysis.

*Data accurate at time of publication.

Please call  Lee from  USAsurance Powered by WeInsure & Calle Financial. 954-270-7966 or 833-USAssure at the office. My email is lee@myUSAssurance.com . I am Your Insurance Consultant  about Home Insurance, Auto, Flood, Private Flood, Car, Life Insurance, Mortgage protection, Financial Products, Business  & Commercial Policies, & Group Products for business owners to give Employees benefits at no cost to the employer. My email is lee@myUSAssurance.

Florida Lawmakers May Hold Off on More Insurance Reforms, Despite Warnings

October 25, 2021 Email This Subscribe to Newsletter Email to a friend Facebook Tweet LinkedIn Print Article

Despite hearing warnings of more rate hikes and more red ink from property insurers in coming months, Florida lawmakers may little appetite for further, significant changes to the state’s insurance laws.

Instead, the Legislature, which convenes Jan. 11, may wait and see if 2019 and 2021 reform measures are having enough of an impact. But members could, at least, tinker around the edges of those statutes and consider some relatively minor changes, according to an article in the South Florida Sun Sentinel.

One bill that insurers are hoping for would be a tweak to the 2019 law that restricted assignments-of-benefits agreements on residential property. Since then, some contractors have stepped around the restrictions by creating other documents, such as “direction to pay” agreements between restoration companies and homeowners, insurers and attorneys have said.

A judge this year temporarily blocked part of the 2021 legislation, known as Senate Bill 76, that attempted to limit roofing companies’ ability to solicit work for homeowners who may or may not need an entirely new roof. Lawmakers in January may consider ways to redraft the law so that it does not infringe on roofers’ rights.

Other ideas include limiting the ability of Citizens Property Insurance Co. policyholders to veto “take outs” by private-market insurers. Citizens, the state-backed insurer of last resort that is growing too rapidly, officials said, has asked for rules that would allow a policyholder to block the take out only if the private carrier’s premiums were at least 15% higher than what the homeowner is paying with Citizens.

Another possible change: Lowering the industry-loss threshold at which insurers could tap into the state’s Hurricane Catastrophe Fund, which could reduce the level of reinsurance that carriers must purchase.

Attorneys who represent policyholders have warned that further restrictions, including more limits on attorney fees, will not reduce premiums. They have called for laws requiring more transparency on ratemaking data and to mandate that insurance carriers promptly settle claims.

Please call  Lee from  USAsurance Powered by WeInsure & Calle Financial. 954-270-7966 or 833-USAssure at the office. My email is lee@myUSAssurance.com . I am Your Insurance Consultant  about Home Insurance, Auto, Flood, Private Flood, Car, Life Insurance, Mortgage protection, Financial Products, Business  & Commercial Policies, & Group Products for business owners to give Employees benefits at no cost to the employer. My email is lee@myUSAssurance.

Most people who have homes that are rented to short term rental clients do not have Insurance or the correct coverage. In a claim scenario, that is likely to be declined. Insurance carriers have such great CSI units they will find what is needed to decline coverage & no lawyer will be able to help that scenario.

ReInsurePro is the new carrier to Florida & we have already helped several clients save thousands of dollars on premium & choose the coverage they want. On top of that, Inspections are not necessary, but the home had better be maintained as they can & might cone to Inspect themselves. Let USAssurance shop your rates for you & see what the correct coverage can do for you & your clients.

October 22, 2021

Please call  Lee from  USAsurance Powered by WeInsure & Calle Financial. 954-270-7966 or 833-USAssure at the office. My email is lee@myUSAssurance.com . I am Your Insurance Consultant  about Home Insurance, Auto, Flood, Private Flood, Car, Life Insurance, Mortgage protection, Financial Products, Business  & Commercial Policies, & Group Products for business owners to give Employees benefits at no cost to the employer. My email is lee@myUSAssurance.

The Florida Legislature’s recent efforts to curtail assignments-of-benefits abuse and excessive claims litigation may be having an impact, according to a new report from a lawsuit-tracking firm.

CaseGlide, a litigation management software company that regularly reports on insurance litigation, said that new litigated claims dropped about 9% last month for Florida’s largest property insurers.

The number of cases fell from 4,313 in August to 3,909 in September, the firm found. Of the 17 largest Florida insurers monitored, 13 saw a month-over-month decline in litigated claims in September. Three insurers registered between an increase between 3% and 20%, and one saw no change.

The Legislature in 2019 approved an assignment-of-benefits reform law that allows insurers to place new restrictions and requirements in policies regarding AOB. Early this year, lawmakers passed Senate Bill 76, which, among other changes, requires advance notice of lawsuit filings, limits some attorney fees, and bars roofing companies from some types of direct solicitation of homeowners. That solicitation part of the law has been temporarily blocked by a lawsuit filed this year by restoration companies.

Wesley Todd

“We believe the 2021 September results are following a similar, post-legislation pattern as they did in 2019 after the Florida AOB Reform Bill took effect in July of that year,” said Wesley Todd, CEO of CaseGlide. “Like in 2019, the results this year indicated a sharp increase prior to Florida Senate Bill 76 taking effect in July, with a decline following.”

While dropping, AOB litigation numbers remain high, CaseGlide said. AOB cases as a percentage of total new litigated cases in September were at 26%, the highest the firm has recorded since January 2020.

For 2021, the top 10 AOB contractors in the state represent 26% of all AOB-related new litigated claims, with the top contractor representing 6%, the report said.

Geographic distribution of new litigated claims continues to be dominated by the state’s southern counties, with Miami-Dade accounting for 24% of claims, followed by Broward at 18% and Palm Beach at 7%. Orange County, home of Orlando, accounted for 8% of newly litigated claims in September. These county percentages have stayed mostly consistent over the course of 2021, the firm noted.

Lawyers and insurers have said that while AOB cases have declined, some contractors have simply filed suits without benefit of an AOB agreement or have convinced policyholders to sue when claims aren’t paid.

“We’re still seeing a lot of claims lawsuits,” said Patrick Carleton, an insurance defense attorney with Groelle & Salmon, in Miami.

AOB abuse has created an additional $1 billion of inflated insurance claims in recent years, according to a recent newsletter published by Lisa Miller, a former deputy Florida insurance commissioner.

“While the reforms seem to have helped in reducing the number of AOB lawsuits, AOBs are still being used and some contractors and their lawyers have been scheming with new tactics to try to get around the reforms,” Miller wrote.

The case is raising concern within the insurance industry as doubts remain as to whether there could be coverage under the personal auto policy.BY CHRIS BOGGS

Please call  Lee from  USAsurance Powered by WeInsure & Calle Financial. 954-270-7966 or 833-USAssure at the office. My email is lee@myUSAssurance.com . I am Your Insurance Consultant  about Home Insurance, Auto, Flood, Private Flood, Car, Life Insurance, Mortgage protection, Financial Products, Business  & Commercial Policies, & Group Products for business owners to give Employees benefits at no cost to the employer. My email is lee@myUSAssurance.com

A woman who contracted a sexually transmitted disease (STD) as a result of unprotected sex in another person’s Geico-insured vehicle has filed suit against the company. This case is raising concern within the insurance industry as doubts remain as to whether there could be coverage. Is the personal auto policy (PAP) broad enough to require Geico to pay this loss?

On reviewing ISO’s personal auto insurance coverage policy to determine if this or any other plaintiff has a case for STDs supposedly contracted in a car, the following is clear:

  • There is no STD exclusion in a personal auto policy coverage like the one found in the homeowners policy.
  • The ISO’s PAP states that it covers the “you” (the named insured) for the ownership, maintenance or use of any auto.
  • “Bodily injury” is defined to mean bodily harm, sickness or disease, including death that results.
  • The PAP pays for bodily injury for which an insured is legally liable. The court stated the vehicle’s owner was legally liable for transmitting the STD to the plaintiff.

Note that this article and these points apply to policy wording found in the ISO’s PAP and not necessarily the applicable Geico policy.

With the ISO policy provisions as the beginning point, the plaintiff, who is identified by court documents as M.O., may have a case in this $5.2 million suit seeking $1 million from Geico.

But before M.O. begins counting her Geico money, there is one rule of insurance she can’t ignore: Coverage can never be any broader than the insuring agreement. If the eligibility of a loss or claim does not make it past the insuring agreement, the remainder of the policy is irrelevant.

The ISO’s PAP contains four coverage parts. Coverage Part A extends liability coverage. The first sentence of the Part A insuring agreement reads:

PART A – LIABILITY COVERAGE

INSURING AGREEMENT

A. We will pay damages for “bodily injury” or “property damage” for which any “insured” becomes legally responsible because of an auto accident. 

Proving the STD is a result of the required auto accident seems unlikely, but reports don’t give us all the details of the encounter. And it is possible to torture the meaning of “accident” to attempt to prove there is coverage, but that is a major stretch.

Given what is known about the case compared to the requirements of the ISO PAP, there does not appear to be coverage for M.O.

If the Geico policy contains the same or a similar requirement that the bodily injury must result from an auto accident for coverage to apply, then this suit should end in Geico’s favor. If the Geico policy wording does not require legal liability for bodily injury resulting from an auto accident, then this should be an interesting case to watch.

Policy wording matters. Start at the beginning to determine if the loss or claim makes it past the insuring agreement. If it doesn’t qualify under the insuring agreement, stop there. The remainder of the policy is just for show. But nevertheless, let’s give this woman credit for originality.

Chris Boggs is Big “I” executive director of risk management and education.16161Thursday, October 21, 2021AutoIndependent Insurance Agents & Brokers of America, Inc.

Please call  Lee from  USAsurance Powered by WeInsure & Calle Financial. 954-270-7966 or 833-USAssure at the office. My email is lee@myUSAssurance.com . I am Your Insurance Consultant  about Home Insurance, Auto, Flood, Private Flood, Car, Life Insurance, Mortgage protection, Financial Products, Business  & Commercial Policies, & Group Products for business owners to give Employees benefits at no cost to the employer. My email is lee@myUSAssurance.com

Four months after the collapse of a 12-story South Florida condominium building left 98 people dead, a Florida Bar task force has recommended major changes in how condo associations operate, including a requirement to maintain larger cash reserves for repairs and to limit owners’ ability to block repairs.

“The task force finds that the lack of uniform maintenance standards or protocols, and the broad discretion given to boards to determine when, how and if life-safety inspections and necessary repairs should be performed, requires legislative intervention,” the group said in a 179-page reported submitted this week to the governor.

The Florida Bar appointed the task force in June, just two days after the Champlain Towers near Miami Beach collapsed. News outlets have reported that residents of the towers had complained for years about needed repairs, but that cash reserves were not available, or that repair funding had been delayed. Florida has more than 910,000 condo units that are more than 30 years old, many of which may be vulnerable to structural problems, the task force said.

The task force, chaired by West Palm Beach attorney William Sklar, met with engineers, insurance experts, condo associations and attorneys. It has now recommended some significant statutory changes ahead of the 2022 legislative session, including these:

On needed repairs

  • Require timely maintenance and repairs, and making waterproofing part of the required maintenance plans. Current law has no specific maintenance standards for condo boards to follow. Boards also have no statutory obligation to inform unit owners about a building’s condition.
  • Codify that needed maintenance should not be considered “a material alteration” that may trigger a vote by unit owners.
  • Abolish limits on condo boards’ authority to assess a fee on owners or to borrow money for repairs, and voiding requirements that unit owners must vote on some upgrades. The change should apply retroactively to existing condo associations.

On building inspections

  • Require that some inspection reports, required now when developers turn over control of the building to the condo association, include detailed maintenance protocols, and that the association must comply with the protocols.
  • Require that any Florida condo building over three stories tall be inspected by a licensed engineer or architect, starting in 2024 and every five years after that. Currently, only condo towers in Miami-Dade and Broward counties must be inspected, and only 40 years after they were built. This requirement would be unnecessary if the association receives a turnover report and regular inspection reports every five years.
  • Authorize that municipal inspection reports on condos be sent to unit owners and posted on associations’ websites.

On legal remedy

  • Establishing a statutory private cause of action for unit owners if associations fail to perform work required in an inspection report. The legal action could not be subject to arbitration or pre-suit mediation.

On funding reserves

  • Require that associations maintain capital reserves for critical building systems equal to at least 50% of the replacement costs, starting in 2026. If an association does not achieve the required funding level, it must secure alternative funding mechanisms, and disclose those to the unit owners.
  • Repeal a section of current law that allows developers to waive statutorily mandated reserves.

The task force made other recommendations and included reports from building officials, attorneys, insurance officials and others. The full report can be seen here.

“Condominium associations and cooperative boards must have the financial tools to fund deferred maintenance and structural repairs which will be necessary as buildings and other improvements age,” the task force report concluded. “Such tools must not be hindered or impaired by the unwillingness of some owners to invest in their condominium property.”

TOPICS CONDOMINIUM

October 19, 2021

Please call  Lee from  USAsurance Powered by WeInsure & Calle Financial. 954-270-7966 or 833-USAssure at the office. My email is lee@myUSAssurance.com . I am Your Insurance Consultant  about Home Insurance, Auto, Flood, Private Flood, Car, Life Insurance, Mortgage protection, Financial Products, Business  & Commercial Policies, & Group Products for business owners to give Employees benefits at no cost to the employer. My email is lee@myUSAssurance.com

It’s not just a few Florida property insurance companies that are running into financial trouble. Almost every carrier is losing money in 2021 and the future does not look any better, the CEO of Citizens Property Insurance Co. told lawmakers Tuesday.

“It is an absolute sea of red ink across the industry,” Barry Gilway said at a Florida Senate Banking and Insurance Committee meeting. He showed sobering net income data for carriers, and few bright spots could be found.

“This is not one or two companies that are having problems in the marketplace,” he said. “This is virtually every single company experiencing negative net income – and a direct hit to surplus.”

Gilway said that 52 Florida-domiciled companies write about 79% of the market. They write $13.8 billion in premium but are backed by only $4 billion in surplus. With Florida’s market now on “life support,” and red ink rising, many insurance companies are now finding it almost impossible to obtain new capital.

That forces carriers to go out of business or drop policies and raise premiums, a growing trend that has prompted thousands of homeowners to move to Citizens in the last two years. Citizens’ policies, expected to top 1 million by the end of next year, are reaching unsustainable levels, officials have said.

Tuesday’s committee hearing was held to explore some solutions to the Florida insurance conundrum. Gilway echoed the sentiments of insurance agents, lawmakers and others who have spoken about the problem in recent months. Citizens, he said, was set up to be an insurer of last resort, yet it is limited by law and by regulators on rate increases that now set most Citizen premiums at about half of what private market insurers charge.

“We are in an insane position,” he said. “Here we are, supposed to be the insurer of last resort, but we’re not supposed to be there at 50 cents on the dollar of what private carriers charge.”

More than 90% of Citizen’s single-family homeowner policies are offered at less than what private market insurers charge. In answer to a question from Sen. Doug Broxson, R-Pensacola, Gilway said he is aware of no other state’s residual insurer that has rates so low and competes with the private market.

Sen. Jeff Brandes, R-Bradenton, pointed out the absurdity of Florida’s market. A billionaire from out of state can buy a second home in Florida, with a lower-priced policy from Citizens that is subsidized by taxpayers.

“You’re right on,” Gilway said. “Yes. The system is subsidizing those individuals.”

Sen. Darryl Rouson, D-St. Petersburg, asked if Citizens had a way of tracking insurers who appear to be losing money and have complained about litigation.

“Do you have any data on the performance of insurance companies on denying and delaying claims payments and how that has had an impact on litigation,” Rouson asked.

Gilway said Citizens does not have that data, but that the Florida Office of Insurance Regulation may collect that information.

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