Legislators


problems. SB 596 passed the Senate Banking and Insurance Committee on February 1, with the all-important language stating that an agreement is void if “it purports to assign or transfer the right to enforce payment for post-loss benefits in the policy,” still in the bill. This provision cuts off the vendors from getting attorneys’ fees, and is the root of this problem. Unfortunately, however, several Committee members said their support was contingent on Senator Hukill amending that provision in the next Committee. CS/HB 1097 by Representative Caldwell has removed that “enforcement” provision. CS/HB 671 by Representative Broxson, which passed the House Government Operations Subcommittee on February 8, does not address “enforcement.”

In addition to the enforcement provision, CS/SB 596 would provide for the following:

  •  The insurer must be notified of the assignment within 3 business days; and an estimate for materials and services must be provided.
  • Within 3 business days following the insurer being notified, the policyholder has a right to rescind without penalty, except for reimbursement for work already performed to mitigate or repair; if the Governor has declared a state of emergency, the policyholder has 5 business days.
  • The assignment must contain in 14-point type a statement to the policyholder describing the right to rescind; that the assignment cannot impose any kind of cancellation fee or a check processing fee, or add a provision for overhead and profit; that the final bill cannot exceed the estimate, unless approved by the policyholder and insurer.
  • The transfer of the right to enforce payment is prohibited and anything that prevents or inhibits an insurer from communicating with its policyholder is prohibited.
  • The assignment cannot transfer the authority to adjust, negotiate, or settle the claim to anyone who is not otherwise authorized to do so; and provides that the law will apply to all assignments which are executed after the effective date.
  • The provisions of the bill will not apply to powers of attorney granted to management companies, family members, or guardians.

We are continuing to aggressively lobby for a strong bill on this issue, and will work to prevent a detrimental bill from being passed.
Please call L & S Insurance at 1-888-244-7400 for free quotes on Home, Auto, Flood, Business & Commercial, & Life & financial Services as well.

 

News of who will replace Florida Insurance Commissioner Kevin McCarty has yet to be announced, but whoever takes over will have his or her work cut out for them when McCarty leaves office after 12 years on May 2.

“These are some pretty huge shoes to fill and it’s going to be tough,” said Jay Neal, president and CEO of the Florida Association for Insurance Reform (FAIR). “We need someone who is experienced in that role or we will see problems.”

No candidates have been confirmed as potential replacements, as of yet, but a few names have been floated so far. Two Florida movers rumored to be in the running include Florida State Rep. Bill Hager, a former Iowa Insurance Commissioner, former president and CEO of the National Council on Compensation Insurance (NCCI) and current vice chair of the state Insurance and Banking subcommittee; and Tom Grady, former interim president of Florida’s Citizens Property Insurance Corp.

Hager has been vocal for flood insurance reform in the state, an issue that has also been a major focus for McCarty over the last six months. Hager told Insurance Journal last fall that lawmakers were “turning up the heat” on the National Flood Insurance Program’s ratemaking practices.

Grady is currently awaiting confirmation by the State Senate to the Florida Board of Education after he was appointed by Florida Gov. Rick Scott in Oct. He was accused of allowing “excessive” travel expenses during his short-lived position with Citizens.

There is also the possibility that a candidate Scott considered last year, Louisiana Deputy Commissioner of Consumer Advocacy Ron Henderson, could be in the running again.

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

http://www.insurancejournal.com/news/southeast/2016/01/08/394524.htm

Florida Insurance Commissioner Kevin M. McCarty announced today that he is resigning effective May 2, 2016 after 12 years in the post to pursue other job opportunities, according to the Florida Office of Insurance Regulation (OIR).

McCarty has served as the only appointed insurance commissioner for the Florida Office of Insurance Regulation since the office was created in 2003.

McCarty’s tenure has been a tumultuous yet productive one. Originally appointed by former Gov. Jeb Bush, McCarty presided over the state’s sometimes volatile homeowners and auto insurance markets, a number of devastating hurricanes, and several financial and insurance-related crises.

Last year, he survived an ouster bid by current Florida Gov. Rick Scott.

Gov. Rick Scott’s Communications Direct, Jackie Schutz, issued the following statement to Insurance Journal on the news:

“We appreciate his service to the state and we wish him the best of luck in his next endeavor.”

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

http://www.insurancejournal.com/news/southeast/2016/01/05/393831.htm

“We think the time is right for you all to explore the [Florida] flood insurance market.”

That was the message Florida Senator Jeff Brandes gave insurance industry attendees at the first ever Florida Flood Insurance Conference on Dec. 9 in St. Petersburg.

Brandes added that lawmakers are doing what they can to make the Florida flood market attractive and accommodating to private insurers.

“Our goal is to have 10 private insurers or more in Florida selling flood insurance in the next 24 months, and with your help we think we are going to get there,” Brandes said.

The Florida flood insurance market has become an expensive problem for homeowners, and it’s getting more expensive every year, according to lawmakers including Brandes and Florida Insurance Commissioner Kevin McCarty.

Brandes, a Republican, represents District 22 of Florida that includes Pinellas and Hillsborough counties. He has been leading the charge among Florida lawmakers to change Florida’s approach to flood insurance.

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

http://www.insurancejournal.com/news/southeast/2015/12/30/393327.htm

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

It was another busy year for the Florida Office of Insurance Regulation (OIR). From conducting the annual property/casualty data call and subsequent stress test of Florida property insurers, to working on the depopulation efforts of Citizens, to calling out the National Flood Insurance Program on Florida’s “unfair” flood insurance rates, Florida Insurance Commissioner Kevin McCarty has addressed some important insurance issues facing his state in 2015.

In the middle of it all, McCarty overcame rumors of being replaced, testified before U.S. lawmakers on behalf of the National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC), was recognized with a lifetime achievement award by the Florida Association for Insurance Reform (FAIR) in September, as well as honored with the Latin American Association of Insurance Agencies “Insurance Man of the Year” award in December.

In a wide-ranging interview with Insurance Journal in November, McCarty talked about how he approaches his position after all these years and shared his views on the important issues facing Florida.

Please enjoy the full article below!

http://www.insurancejournal.com/news/southeast/2015/12/21/392698.htm

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

The Florida Office of Insurance Regulation (OIR) ordered Florida’s largest property insurers on Oct. 23 to submit detailed information on water loss claims, mitigation services, litigation and assignment of benefits. OIR stated the data call would help evaluate the impact that assignment of benefits is having on property claims.

OIR is requiring the top 25 HO-3/dwelling fire writers in Florida to submit information for this data call, including Citizens Property Insurance Corp. However, OIR said the data call is available to any personal residential property writer that would like to participate. The deadline for companies to submit this information is December 7.

The insurers are required to provide responses on issues ranging from how claims are filed and how much is paid, to detailed claims information, including names and addresses of the water mitigation companies, contractors, public adjusters and attorneys representing policyholders on claims going back to January 2010. OIR also has requested specific geographic information on where losses are occurring across the state.

Citizens, the state’s insurer of last resort, has been vocal about its rapid rise of water loss claims since 2012, particularly in Miami-Dade County where the frequency and severity of water loss claims far exceeds any other region in the state, the company said.

Citizens President, CEO and Executive Director Barry Gilway welcomed the data call request, saying he’s confident the OIR investigation will provide data from private companies that corroborates Citizens’ analysis that water claims are the leading driver of rates across the state, especially in South Florida.

“As the state’s non-profit insurer of last resort, Citizens is doing all it can to keep premiums as low as possible for our policyholders,” Gilway said. “The surprising increase in the frequency and severity of water loss claims, particularly in Miami-Dade County, over the past several years makes it more difficult for us to control the need for rate increases.”

A Citizens analysis of premium costs shows that water loss claims account for 33 cents of every premium dollar paid by its Florida customers. But in Miami-Dade, more than half of every premium dollar goes to pay for water loss claims, Citizens said.

“The bottom line is this. Were it not for water losses, most Miami-Dade customers would see a decrease in rates for 2016,” Gilway said. “As it stands, however, the average homeowners’ rate in Miami-Dade will climb by more than 6 percent.”

http://www.insurancejournal.com/news/southeast/2015/11/10/388031.htm

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

The property insurance market in Florida has significantly shifted in market share as Citizens Property Insurance Corp. (Citizens)—the state-run property insurance company—continues to depopulate and move policyholders to the private market, which has increasingly seen the emergence of newly formed, in-state writers.

While these new companies have experienced significant growth driven by the dynamics of Citizens’ shifting market position, there is significant risk as proper risk management, risk analytics and overall infrastructure to manage the growth are in some cases untested, according to a new special report from A.M. Best.

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While Florida has not had a significant hurricane in the past few years, it has been impacted by other unique issues, including sink-hole claims. The Best’s Special Report, titled, “Florida Property Insurers Remain Untested: Will 2015 Be the Year?,” states that these storms along with sink-hole losses, escalating reinsurance costs and general market conditions have caused many larger, national carriers to reduce Florida property exposures. Beginning in 2007 and continuing to the present time, many of the long-term top 10 insurance market leaders have been replaced by several less-experienced companies.

A.M. Best’s analytical process for Florida-concentrated companies encompasses the same qualitative and quantitative evaluations as all companies do.

In the case of those companies with exposure to wind events, a key component in the analysis is its exposure to hurricane loss and the recoveries of reinsured losses. Not surprising, many companies have a very high gross probable maximum loss. In addition, a stress test is performed on the company’s capitalization that measures the capital position post an event and its ability to absorb a subsequent event on its capitalization.

As was evident in 2004, when several hurricanes caused significant insured property losses, the possibility of multiple severe events and correspondingly multiple reinsurance retentions and reinstatements is a real possibility.

This group and the other carriers will eventually be tested when the major hurricane(s) make landfall in Florida. While the financial resources to respond to all their affected policyholders financial loss is considered measurable, the operational resources to handle the volume of claims in an efficient and timely fashion will be equally tested. A.M. Best will continue monitoring the Florida market, with analytical emphasis put on catastrophe risk management and the standard and stress-tested scenario measurement of risk- adjusted capitalization. Understanding each entity’s financial condition after single or multiple catastrophe events, as well as its ongoing ability to respond to subsequent events, continues to be a critical component of the interactive A.M. Best analysis and the assignment of ratings.

Source: A.M. Best

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