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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).

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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 & group benefits as well.

“You can run the models all day,” said panelist Steven Kelner, managing director and head of U.S./Canada Analytics at Guy Carpenter & Company LLC. “But when you go down to Houston and look at neighborhoods, there were huge neighborhoods where the whole neighborhood was deemed not flood exposed. And the whole neighborhood but a house or two was flooded, because the maps weren’t accurate; because the data wasn’t up-to-date.”

With this in mind, the industry will need to rethink its approach to cat modeling as it continues learning from recent natural disasters including hurricanes and wildfires, panelists agreed.

“There’s a lot of complexity in getting a cat model to run accurately,” Kelner said. “For example, I can turn [GPS] mapping software on, and it will tell me how long it will take to get from Trenton to Philadelphia at 5 p.m. But the mapping software doesn’t realize that at 5:45 p.m., there’s always a backup. So we need to still have common sense in our day-to-day.”

Panelist John Langione, chief risk officer at QBE North America, agreed, adding that “models are great, but they’re part of the process.”

The challenge for the insurance industry comes in recognizing the importance of using modeling software for pricing, while not becoming overly reliant on the models themselves and looking instead to historical elements to understand exposure and risk, said panelist Bruce Jones, executive vice president and chief risk officer at The Travelers Companies Inc.

“You have this sort of tug-of-war between actual experience and models and trying to make sure that as you’re thinking about it both from a pricing perspective and from a capital perspective, you do have a total view of what’s going on,” he said

Please enjoy the full article below;

https://www.insurancejournal.com/news/national/2018/07/16/495213.htm

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We all complain that we don’t have enough time.
 
In a way that’s true. There will always be more to do than can be done.
 
Yet, there’s also something that smacks of excuse-making there.
 
I have tight deadlines, so I didn’t sign up for that class.
 
I have so many projects that I can’t take any time off right now.
 
You and I both know that’s not the truth. Truth is, we make time for what we perceive as important right now.
 
Right now, it’s more important to finish that project than to take an hour away for that class.
 
Right now, it’s more important to attend that meeting than to take time off for that little league game.
 
Right now, it’s more important to play that game on your phone than to read that new book.
 
I get it. It’s about what’s important right now.
 
Why not change what’s important right now? I mean, you do get to choose some of these things, don’t you?
 
Keep Learning!

Patrick Wraight, CIC, CRM, CISR, AU, AINS
Director, Insurance Journal’s Academy of Insurance
800.897.9965 x130 | pwraight@ijacademy.com

 

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 & group products as well.

 

Scientists at Colorado State University’s Tropical Meteorology Project have decreased their forecast and now believe that 2018 hurricane season will have below-average activity.

According to the forecasters, the tropical and subtropical Atlantic is currently much colder than normal, and the odds of a weak El Niño developing in the next several months have increased.

With the decrease in the forecast, the probability for major hurricanes making landfall along the United States coastline and in the Caribbean has decreased as well, report Philip J. Klotzbach and Michael M. Bell.

The Colorado team now estimates that the rest of 2018 will see additional 4 hurricanes (median is 6.5), 10 named storms (median is 12.0), 41.50 named storm days (median is 60.1), 15 hurricane days (median is 21.3), 1 major (Category 3-4-5) hurricane (median is 2.0) and 2 major hurricane days (median is 3.9).

The forecast cites a 22 percent probability of a direct hit to the eastern United States; the average is 31 percent.

Please enjoy the full article below;

 

https://www.insurancejournal.com/news/national/2018/07/05/494264.htm

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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

Please enjoy the full article below;

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

Please enjoy the full article below and respond as well

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