Public Ajustors


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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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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 and all group benefits.

Insurance industry losses from Hurricane Florence, which hit the Carolinas mid-September as a Category 1 storm, will be manageable and not have a severe impact on insurers, according to experts.

As the storm turned out to be less of a wind event and with flood excluded on most homeowners policies, it is expected insurers will not experience the significant losses that were initially feared. However uninsured flood losses could cost nearly $20 billion, by some estimates.

“All indications we have seen is [Florence] was more of a flood event than wind issue,” said Brian O’Neill, exectuive vice president for JLT Re’s National Catastrophe Practice.

According to Fitch Ratings, wind speeds from Florence diminished as the storm approached the U.S. coast and Florence was downgraded to a Category 1 hurricane before making landfall in North Carolina on Sept. 14. Fitch said the level of wind related damage to property is expected to be modest as a result of the significant decline in wind speeds, limiting losses to primary property insurance writers.

Catastrophe modeling firm AIR Worldwide estimated that industry insured losses from Florence’s winds and storm surge will range from $1.7 billion to $4.6 billion. Losses include downed trees that caused damages to homes and automobiles, downed utility poles, and shingle loss with isolated cases of more extensive roof damage.

Karen Clark & Co. said it expects insured losses from Hurricane Florence will reach $2.5 billion. That estimate includes insured losses to residential, commercial and industrial properties.

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https://www.insurancejournal.com/news/southeast/2018/09/25/502196.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 Group and all financial products.

Flood insurance was far from Stephanie Walker’s mind in 2015 when she moved her family into a home in Fayetteville in central North Carolina, nearly 200 miles (320 km) from the coast.

The next year, a creek at the end of her street swelled during Hurricane Matthew, sending several feet of water into her living room. Without flood insurance, the family spent $70,000 on repairs. The U.S. Federal Emergency Management Agency covered $25,000 but the family had to borrow the rest for her home.

The houses on the street were built in 2005. Matthew was the first storm that caused flooding, but the fear of another flood is causing greater anxiety.

“This street should be demolished. Houses never should have been put here,” said Walker, 41.

After Matthew, the family bought flood insurance and felt protected when the waters touched their doorstep again during Hurricane Florence.

But they are a rarity. Only about 1 percent of homes in North Carolina’s inland counties are insured through the national floodinsurance program, according to federal data, compared with 25 percent to 50 percent of homeowners on the coast.

FEMA’s National Flood Insurance Program supplements regular homeowner policies, which do not generally include flood damage. For homeowners who do not buy the flood insurance, federal aid generally only partially covers repairs.

The average national flood insurance policy, which tops out at $250,000, costs about $700 per year, but varies depending on the elevation of the home, according to FEMA. Homeowners can buy supplemental insurance policies for more valuable homes through private insurers.

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https://www.insurancejournal.com/news/southeast/2018/09/19/501688.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.

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

Please call Lee at Acentria Insurance at 954-270-7966 for free quotes on Home Insurance, Auto, Flood, Private Flood, Car, Business & Commercial , Li fe, Health and group benefits large & small.

 

Like thousands of other Floridians, I recently received my homeowner’s insurance renewal statement only to learn that my premium was increasing by a double-digit percentage – nearly $600 annually. But like most homeowners who have a mortgage and who pay insurance and property taxes through an escrow account, I won’t have to pay anything out-of-pocket yet. It will be a year from now when the pain will come.

I will receive a new escrow calculation showing that my monthly mortgage payment will increase – not only to make up for the shortfall from the previous year’s premium increase, but also to pay the increased premium for the following renewal year – a total of $1,200 for the year, or $100 extra per month.

And if rates continue to increase as they did this year, I and virtually every other Florida homeowner will continue to see our mortgage payments increase this way year after year after year.

Seniors on a fixed income, working families struggling to make ends meet, people saving for college or retirement, and the rest of us who would simply rather keep more of our earnings will suffer. It will feel no different than a huge tax increase, but at least taxes pay for useful things like schools, roads, police, and firefighters. The proceeds from this increase will be used to pay fraudsters.

Real estate values will also take a hit because the more we spend on insurance, the fewer dollars we can apply to the actual mortgage payment. If you want to sell your house, there will be fewer people who can afford it. Lower demand means lower prices. We have only recently experienced in the last decade how a soft real estate market drags down the overall economy.

There is only one entity that can act to reverse course on these rate increases and protect our real estate-driven economy: the Florida State Legislature. There are two reforms legislators can enact that will provide relief from relentless insurance premium rate hikes: 1) reduce systematic fraud by preventing abusive and needless assignments of benefits litigation, and 2) lower the cost of reinsurance by reforming the Florida Hurricane Catastrophe Fund, a move that would decrease rates by 8 to 10 percent.

The time to act is now. Even if the proposed reforms are passed during the next legislative session in 2019, homeowners will have to wait until 2020 or beyond to feel relief through mortgage payments that go down instead of up.

That’s a long way off – way past the November elections. But candidates we elect in November will be the ones who must act.

If we want lower rates in the future we need to commit to do two things today: 1) get candidates to state on the record that they will fight for both reforms, and 2) have memories like elephants if they don’t. There are plenty of special interest groups who will pressure them to resist. Go to http://www.floridainsurancereform.org/petition to learn more about these two specific reforms and sign a petition demanding action. Elected officials must fear accountability from Florida voters more than the pressure of special interest groups. We need at least a quarter million signatures to show them that we expect and deserve action

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https://www.insurancejournal.com/news/southeast/2018/06/07/491458.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 products large & small.

Guess what? He was a Public adjustor?? No way?? Kidding!!!

A Florida man has been sentenced to 20 years in prison for his role in an arson insurance fraud scheme that spanned multiple Florida counties and was ordered to pay $1.9 million towards restitution to the more than 14 carriers affected, according to a statement from the Miami-Dade State Attorney Katherine Fernandez Rundle’s office.

Jorge Fausto Espinosa Sr., owner of the public adjuster company Nationwide Adjusters LLC, pled guilty last month to racketeering, racketeering conspiracy, organized scheme to defraud, and more than 28 counts of arson as well as multiple counts of insurance fraud and grand theft. He was sentenced by Judge Mark Blumstein t

 

o 20 years in state prison in addition to paying $1.9 million towards restitution.

Fausto Espinosa Sr. was one of many defendants originally charged in a series of collaborative investigations by the Miami-Dade State Attorney’s Office, State Fire Marshal Jimmy Patronis’ Bureau of Fire and Arson Investigations, and the Miami-Dade Police Department called Operation Flames and Flood I and Operation Flames and Flood II.

The investigations found that Espinosa intentionally set multiple homes on fire as well as caused water damage to other homes with the sole purpose of filing false and fraudulent insurance claims. The homeowners were recruited by Espinosa as part of his “Arson for Hire Scheme” involving homes in Miami-Dade, Lee and Collier County.

More than 14 insurance carriers, including Citizens, Tower Hill and United Property and Casualty, were impacted by the 50-plus false claims that cost insurers and policyholders more than $14 million in losses.

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https://www.insurancejournal.com/news/southeast/2018/06/05/491223.htm

 

 

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