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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.

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

 

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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.”

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The number of Americans with flood insurance is on the rise, yet Hurricane Florence is likely to make it painfully clear that too many homeowners in the Carolinas and other vulnerable regions remain unprotected. .

An analysis of federal flood insurance records by The Associated Press found there were roughly 5.1 million active flood insurance policies in the U.S. as of July 31, up from 4.94 million a year earlier.

The Carolinas had modest gains – a 2.5 percent increase in South Carolina and a 3.5 percent increase in North Carolina.

But large gaps in coverage remain. South Carolina is the second-highest insured state for flooding, with roughly 65 percent of properties in flood hazard areas insured. But in North Carolina, where forecasters say the storm might bring the most destructive round of flooding in state history, flood coverage is less common, with only 35 percent of at-risk properties insured.

After blowing ashore as a hurricane with 90 mph winds, Florence virtually parked itself much of the weekend atop the Carolinas as it pulled warm water from the ocean and hurled it onshore. Storm surges, flash floods and winds scattered destruction widely.

Most of the gains observed in the federal flood insurance data over the past 12 months occurred in Texas, with about 145,000 new policies. Insurance experts say that Hurricane Harvey, which brought tremendous flood damage to Texas and Louisiana late last summer, helped increase public awareness that homeowners need flood insurance.

Please enjoy the full article below;

https://www.insurancejournal.com/news/southeast/2018/09/17/501489.htm

Please call Lee at Acentria Insurance for free quotes on Home Insurance, Auto, Flood, Private Flood, Car, Business & Commercial & Life, Health & all types of group benefits for all size companies.

With Florida about to enter peak hurricane season, a state insurance association representing more than a dozen insurers in Florida is hitting back against a recent report from ratings agency Weiss Ratings that identified 10 Florida-based insurers as “weak.”

The insurer trade group, the Florida Property & Casualty Association (FPCA), is disputing the “weak” assessments by Weiss and defending the marketplace in general, saying it does not believe Weiss is a legitimate ratings agency

“Florida homeowners should beware of a recent press release by Weiss Ratings that contains misleading information about the financial stability of our state’s homeowner’s insurance companies. This is simply not the truth,” the Florida Property & Casualty Association (FPCA) said in a statement.

State insurance officials did not respond to individual ratings assertions by Weiss but did downplay the effect of open Hurricane Irma claims that Weiss cites as a concern.

Weiss Ratings has defended its assessments of the 10 insurers as weak, claiming other rating agencies give some insurers high ratings they don’t deserve.

In the June 14 press release that upset FPCA, Weiss highlighted what it called the 10 strongest and weakest providers of homeowners insurance doing business in Florida.

The ratings agency, which analyzes and rates 2,300 property and casualty insurers in the United States, said it uses annual and quarterly financial statements filed with state insurance commissioners to complete an analysis of hundreds of factors that are synthesized into a series of indexes that are then used to arrive at a company’s letter grade rating.

Based on this criteria, Weiss’s statement identified 10 carriers with more than $2.5 million in annual homeowners premiums in the state to which it gave a grade of D+ or lower, as of Dec. 31, 2017:

Florida Homeowner Insurers Weiss
Safety Rating
Homeowner Premiums
$ Millions
Anchor P&C Insurance Co. D 53.7
Edison Insurance Co. D+ 68.2
Florida Specialty Insurance Co D 75.8
Olympus Insurance Co. D+ 121.5
People’s Trust Insurance Co. D+ 212.2
Prepared Insurance Co. D 51.5
Tower Hill Preferred Insurance Co. D 104.2
Tower Hill Prime Insurance Co. D 220.1
Universal P&C Insurance Co. D 846.1
White Pine Insurance Co. D+ 6.8

Weiss warned consumers to remain vigilant of these 10 insurers with “weaker finances,” which combined have more than $1.7 billion in homeowners premium in Florida.

FPCA, which represents 15 Florida insurers, including Edison Insurance and People’s Trust, disputed the Weiss ratings, saying in its release that Florida home insurers must pass a rigorous catastrophe reinsurance stress test by the Florida Office of Insurance Regulation (OIR), as well as vertical and horizontal reinsurance reviews by what it calls “credible rating agencies.”

FPCA alleges that Weiss Ratings opinions are “not recognized by the insurance industry because they fail to consider the rigorous reinsurance programs purchased by insurance carriers on an annual basis,” FPCA said.

“Our leadership of and members of the FPCA do not believe Weiss is a legitimate ratings agency. To the best of our knowledge, their ratings aren’t recognized by the secondary mortgage market and they don’t speak with the insurance companies they claim to rate. A.M. Best, S&P, Moody’s and Demotech all do,” said FPCA Chairman Roger Desjadon.

Each of the top 10 companies Weiss assigned low ratings to have Financial Stability Ratings (FSR) of ‘A’ or better by Ohio-based financial analysis firm Demotech, except one – White Pine Insurance Co., which is rated B+ by A.M. Best only. In addition to its ‘A’ rating from Demotech, Tower Hill Prime Insurance Co. also carries an A- rating from Best with a negative ratings implication, as of Sept. 2017. Best does not rate the other eight companies.

Please enjoy the full article below;

https://www.insurancejournal.com/news/southeast/2018/07/24/495836.htm

Please 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 products.

“I think the number one thing the insurance industry can do is link AOB (assignment of benefits) to the impact that it’s having on the individual consumer and the huge impact it’s having on the premiums that the consumer’s paying,” Barry Gilway, president, CEO and executive director of Citizens Property Insurance Corp. told attendees in a recent Insurance Journal webinar on Florida AOB abuse

Education, education, education, Gilway said, will be critical to slowing the Florida AOB epidemic that is leading to higher insurance rates, reduced coverage and a potential insurance market crisis in the state.

Gilway was one of a panel of four experts participating in the “Florida AOB Crisis: Where Does the Industry Go from Here?” webinar conducted by Insurance Journal on June 26.

Logan McFaddin, regional representative for the Property Casualty Insurers Association (PCI), Paul Huszar, CEO of remediation contracting company VetCor, and Patrick Wraight, director of the Insurance Journal Academy of Insurance, joined Gilway in discussing the AOB situation in Florida and ways to rein in what they all agreed is runaway abuse.

The AOB problem in Florida stems from unlicensed water remediation and roofing contractors who have homeowners sign over their insurance policy rights in exchange for needed repairs to their homes. The contractors, typically working with an attorney, file inflated or fake claims, and then pursue lawsuits against insurers when those claims are disputed or denied. Because of Florida’s one-way attorney fee statute, insurers are left footing the bill for the inflated claims and the attorney fees if the insurer is found to have underpaid the claim by any amount.

Carriers across the state have seen an increase in litigation because of these inflated claims. 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.

But Citizens, the state-run insurer of last resort, has borne the brunt of the abuse. It reported in its 2019 rate hearing in June that it would spend $70 million this year defending AOB-related litigation – equal to 17 percent of its total premium.

Please enjoy the full article below;

https://www.insurancejournal.com/news/southeast/2018/07/19/495520.htm

Please 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 types of group & business products.

On the official start of the 2018 Hurricane Season, Florida Chief Financial Officer (CFO) Jimmy Patronis reminds Floridians of the importance of financial preparedness before the next storm. CFO Patronis warns that homeowners insurance policies contain limitations and exclusions and it is important to review your policy to understand your coverages.

“Last year, Hurricane Irma alone resulted in more than $8 billion in insured losses. If you haven’t already, now is the time to financially prepare for the 2018 Hurricane Season,” said CFO Jimmy Patronis. “Understanding your insurance coverage is a vital part of the hurricane preparedness process. Check your homeowners insurance policy and understand what is covered and what is excluded so that you have adequate coverage.”

Homeowner’s insurance policies vary from company to company. Here are eight insurance coverages you may consider for hurricane season:

Windstorm Coverage (if not included in your current homeowners policy).
Windstorm coverage may be excluded if you live in a wind pool area (generally within 1,000 – 1,500 feet of a body of water, such as the gulf or the ocean).

Flood Insurance (if not included in your current homeowners policy).
Flood coverage may be included in your current homeowners policy by endorsement, or a separate policy may be issued. This coverage is important to have even if you are not in a designated flood zone.

Food Spoilage.
Food spoilage is not always covered by most policies; however, if the coverage is included, most companies cover food spoilage due to a power outage caused by direct physical damage on the insured premises.

Sinkhole Coverage.
This covers sinkhole losses on any structure, including personal property. Coverage may be restricted to the principal building, as defined in the policy.

Additional Living Expenses/Loss of Use.
This provides for the “additional” expenses of living elsewhere due to a loss to the insured residence by covered damage.

Inflation Guard Endorsement.
This endorsement may be added to most policies and provides for an automatic percentage increase in coverage amounts to help keep your coverage aligned with current construction costs.

Replacement Cost Endorsement.
This pays up to the limits for the replacement of a damaged or destroyed home or property, without deducting depreciation. This is different from Actual Cash Value, which pays for the actual value of damaged items and does not consider depreciation.

Law and Ordinance.
This pays an additional amount to apply towards the cost to rebuild or repair damages due to the enforcement of any ordinance or law regarding construction, repair, or demolition.

Consumers should speak with their insurance agent or company to confirm the coverages on their policy as soon as possible. Once a storm develops, their insurance company may be under binding restrictions, and they may be unable to obtain a separate policy or add these important coverages to their current policy. Consumers should keep in mind that some property insurance companies offer flood coverage as an endorsement to the homeowners’ policy, and typically there is a 30-day waiting period to obtain coverage through the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP).

Please call Lee from Acentria Insurance at 954-270-7966 for free quotes on Home Insurance, Auto, Flood, Private Flood, Car, Business & Commercial, Life Group Health plans, Business & Commercial policies as well.

A restoration contractor company owner has been arrested over an alleged assignment of benefits (AOB) fraud scheme that impacted 19 homeowners in eight Florida counties and one Texas county, according to a statement from Florida Chief Financial Officer (CFO) Jimmy Patronis.

Timothy Matthew Cox, owner of Nationwide Catastrophe Services, Inc. and Restoration Response Services, Inc., is alleged to have stolen nearly $140,000 for home repairs related to damages from tropical weather events that he never provided. As a result of Cox’s alleged activity, the victims’ homes sustained additional damage from significant weather events, including Hurricane Irma, the statement said.

The Florida Bureau of Insurance Fraud, a division of the Florida Department of Financial Services, found that Cox and his team targeted Brevard, Clay, Escambia, Flagler, Orange, Osceola, Seminole and Volusia Counties and Tarrant County, Texas.

These areas were impacted by tropical storms and hurricanes, and according to DFS, Cox is alleged to have pressured homeowners to sign an AOB contract to have damages repaired. Cox received $139,444.97 from the 19 victims and their insurance carriers.

After receiving the insurance payments, Cox’s team never started any of the work they were contracted to perform on the 19 homes, according to the statement. The payments made to Nationwide Catastrophe Services, Inc. and Restoration Response Services, Inc. were deposited into bank accounts controlled by Cox, who used the money for personal use, DFS said

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https://www.insurancejournal.com/news/southeast/2018/06/13/491931.htm

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