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Please call  Lee Gorodetsky at 954-270-7966 for free quotes on Home Insurance, Auto, Flood, Private Flood, Auto, Business & Commercial , & life, Health and group benefits as well.

An onerous version of AOB reform is on the move in the Senate, passing its second of three committees this week. SB1168, by Senator Steube, amends current law to provide that a misrepresentation, omission, concealment of fact, or incorrect statement on an insurance application may prevent recovery only if the misrepresentation, omission, concealment of fact, or incorrect statement directly relates to the cause of the claim. If the misrepresentation, omission, concealment of fact or incorrect statement directly relates to the cause of the claim, one of the following must apply:

  • The misrepresentation, omission, concealment, or statement is fraudulent or is material to the acceptance of the risk or to the hazard assumed by the insurer; or
  • If the true facts relative to the loss claimed had been known to the insurer pursuant to a policy requirement or other requirement, the insurer in good faith would not have:
    • Issued the policy or contract;
    • Issued the policy or contract at a premium rate at least 20 percent higher than the rate actually charged;
    • Issued a policy or contract in as large an amount; or
    • Provided coverage with respect to the hazard resulting in the loss.

 

In addition, SB1168 also amends current law to prohibit an insurer from utilizing “managed repair” controls, such as requiring that a particular vendor make repairs to a dwelling insured on the basis of replacement costs. It also prohibits the insurer from even recommending or suggesting a particular vendor to make repairs to a dwelling insured on the basis of replacement costs.

 

The bill also requires the assignee to provide a copy of the assignment agreement to the insurer within the earlier of 7 days after execution of the agreement, or 48 hours after beginning nonemergency work if the insurer has a facsimile number and e-mail address on its website designated for the delivery of such documents. It allows the insurer to inspect the property at any time. If the insurer fails to attempt in good faith to inspect the property within 7 days after learning of the loss and promptly deliver to the assignee written notice of any perceived deficiency in the assignee’s notice or the work being performed; however, the failure may be raised to estop the insurer from asserting that work done was not reasonably necessary or that the notice was insufficient.

We are working to stop this bill from advancing. Industry’s preferred AOB bill is SB62 by Senator Hukill, which has not been scheduled for a committee hearing and is unlikely to advance given the composition of the Banking & Insurance Committee in the Senate.

 

Meanwhile, the Florida House of Representatives AOB reform HB 7015 by Representative Trumbull was sent to the Senate in the first week of the legislative session. While the House version is not a perfect solution, the bill makes significant changes to the way property repair vendors are restricted in their use of an “assignment of benefits” or “AOB.”   The bill requires disclosures be provided to insureds before entering into an AOB. It also moves to a “loser pays” attorney fee system. The House legislation provides the insured with an opportunity to rescind the assignment within 7 days of entering into the contract with the vendor. Further, the bill increases consumer protections and required vendors to provide written estimates of the work to be completed and required the assignee to notify the insurer of the assignment within 3 days of it being executed.   While it would be better to eliminate attorneys’ fees to repair vendors altogether, this bill is an improvement over the current system.

 

In the end, it is unlikely that the House and Senate versions of AOB will match up. But if the House bill moves toward the Senate version, it will be a weaker product and possibly even onerous.

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Please contact Lee at Acentria Insurance at 954-351-1960 for free quotes On Home Insurance, Flood Auto, Private Flood, Car Insurance, Business & Commercial policies and Life & Financial products as well.

Hurricane Irma’s damaging rampage through Florida may require the state fund that provides backing to private insurers to pay up to $5.1 billion in claims.

Anne Bert, chief operating officer for the Florida Hurricane Catastrophe Fund, said Thursday the fund will be able to pay claims with cash. That means the fund will

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

The fund entered storm season in good financial shape and new estimates conclude the fund could borrow up to nearly $8 billion.

The $5.1 billion claims estimate is preliminary, but actuaries said they based it on experience from previous hurricanes.

not have to borrow any money.

Please enjoy the full article below;

https://www.insurancejournal.com/news/southeast/2017/10/30/469653.htm

Please call Lee at 954-351-1960 for free quotes on Home Insurance, Flood, Private Flood, Auto, Business & Commercial policies as well as Life, Disability and all group products.

With two Florida landfalls in the same day, Hurricane Irma‘s destructive wind and flood damage could cost up to $65 billion for both insured and uninsured losses, according to a recent estimate by CoreLogic.

Residential property flood loss is estimated at up to $38 billion, CoreLogic reported, noting that includes storm surge, inland and flash flooding in five states – Florida, Alabama, Georgia, North Carolina and South Carolina

80 percent of the flood damage is uninsured, the company said.

Reported insured flood loss for commercial properties could top out at $8 billion.

AIR Worldwide estimated insured losses for the U.S. States resulting from Irma will range between $25 billion – $35 billion.

The catastrophe modeling firm noted the hurricane-force winds extended 80 miles from the eye and tropical storm–force winds extended more than 400 miles, covering the entire state and driving storm surge into both the Atlantic and Gulf coasts.

Downed trees, signs and utility poles and flooded or debris-strewn streets could be seen in the southern regions of the state, AIR Worldwide reported.

Karen Clark & Company estimated losses in the U.S and Caribbean at $25 billion. Of the $18 billion insured loss in the U.S., the majority is in Florida, followed by Georgia, South Carolina and Alabama, KCC reported.

As of Thursday, Sept. 21, the Florida Office of Insurance Regulation reported more than 397,000 residential property claims and just over 17,000 commercial property claims had been filed. Including all types of losses, total estimated insured losses thus far had passed the $3 billion mark. OIR has been updating claims data daily.

Please enjoy the full article below;

http://www.insurancejournal.com/news/southeast/2017/09/22/465115.htm

The ads were out before the storm hit so be careful. Please remember to call me at The Acentria office at 954-351-1960. We also provide free quotes on Home Insurance, Auto, Flood, Private Flood, Car, Business & Commercial and Life, group and Health Insurance  products.

As Florida residents return home after being evacuated by Hurricane Irma, the pressure is on the insurance industry to keep a bad situation regarding assignment of benefits abuse in the state from getting worse.

Florida regulators, carriers, industry trade groups and lawmakers are all echoing the same advice to policyholders: now’s the time to contact your agent or insurer and file claims.

“CFO Jimmy Patronis and Insurance Commissioner David Altmaier encourage Floridians to be prompt in notifying their insurance companies and cautious of repair deals that sound too good to be true,” the Florida Office of Insurance Regulation alerted consumers in a statement released Tuesday.

While Florida was spared the worst-case scenario by Hurricane Irma in terms of the storm’s strength, the state still suffered significant damage from wind and coastal flooding. Agents and carriers are just starting to deploy resources to affected areas, and stakeholders say timing will be of the essence as “bad actors” will be on the prowl for homeowners willing to assign to them the right to obtain insurance benefits to deal with damage to their homes.

“All consumers need to be on alert as they recover from Irma for fraudulent schemes and assignment of benefit scams so they don’t unknowingly sign away their rights,” said Chris Gardner, chairman of Citizens board of governors. “If unsure, agents are prepared to advise you and guide you through the claims process.”

Please enjoy the full article below;

http://www.insurancejournal.com/news/southeast/2017/09/13/464047.htm

Please call  me at 954-351-1960 for free quotes and information on Home Insurance, Auto, Flood, Private Flood, Car, Business & Commercial, & Life, group & financial products as well.

Assistance provided by insurance experts working Florida’s Insurance Consumer Helpline led to the recovery of more than $16.6 million during the first half of 2017, according to a statement by Chief Financial Officer Jimmy Patronis.

Helpline experts answered more than 141,000 calls from Floridians during the first six months of the year and aided in the recovery of funds that included insurance claim payments and premium refunds that consumers sought the Department of Financial Services’ help collecting.

Please read the full article below;

http://www.insurancejournal.com/news/southeast/2017/07/28/459225.htm

Please call  Gateway/ Acentria Insurance at 1-888-244-7400 for free quotes on Home Insurance, Auto, Flood, Private Flood, Business & Commercial & Life, Group benefits and Heath Insurance products.

For South Florida homeowners, 2017 already figured to be a year of steep property insurance rate increases.

For customers of two insurance companies, state regulators have made those increases even steeper than the companies sought.

Why? State regulators say high costs stemming from excessive claims in the tricounty region requires the companies to charge customers more money than they would prefer.

The state “has an obligation to approve rates that are [financially] sound — which may be more or less than what a company requests,” said Sha’Ron James, the state’s Insurance Consumer Advocate, who did not participate in the rate decisions.

Two companies — Deerfield Beach-based People’s Trust Insurance and Tampa-based Homeowners Choice Property & Casualty — this week received approval for larger rate increases than they requested.

People’s Trust, with 54,267 home- and condo-owner policies in the tricounty region and 129,365 statewide as of Dec. 31, sought a 14.5-percent statewide average rate hike and instead got a 16-percent hike.

Homeowners Choice, with 53,040 home- and condo-owner policies in the tricounty area and 130,041 statewide at the end of the year, sought a 3.3-percent statewide average increase and instead got an 8-percent hike.

Please read & enjoy the full article below;

http://www.sun-sentinel.com/business/fl-bz-insurance-rate-hikes-20170509-story.html

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

A bill backed by the insurance industry to curb the abuse of Florida’s one-way attorney fee statute in assignment of benefit claims has stalled as lawmakers opted to instead advance what the insurance industry and the state’s regulator feel is a less effective measure.

The legislative maneuver sparked criticism by the Wall Street Journal of the Senate chair of the key committee, who in turn has accused the industry of mounting a “smear” campaign against her.

The industry setback came on Monday when the Senate Banking and Insurance Committee, chaired by Senate President Pro Tempore Anitere Flores (R-Miami, Monroe), left Senate Bill 1038 off its agenda. This bill, drafted by the Florida Office of Insurance Regulation with support from the state-run insurer Citizens Property Insurance Corp. and other industry groups, seeks to keep AOB consumer protections in place, but take away the incentive – the one-way attorney fee – that the industry claims is driving abuse by unregulated water mitigation, remediation and roofing contractors typically working with attorney groups

The insurance industry had tempered its expectations of getting the legislation passed because of lobbying by trial attorneys and unlicensed contractors, who the industry says are inflating water damage claims and filing frivolous lawsuits. Under Florida’s current one-way attorney fee statute, policyholders suing their insurer over a claim dispute can recover their attorney’s fees if the insurer is shown to have underpaid the claim, by any amount.

“If you look at the trends of water claims over the last five years – it’s alarming,” Florida Insurance Commissioner David Altmaier told Insurance Journal in February. “Absent any kind of reforms to address those trends, we could be seeing rate increases of 10 percent a year just to keep up.”

Please enjoy the full article below.

http://www.insurancejournal.com/news/southeast/2017/04/05/446884.htm

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