Archive for July, 2013|Monthly archive page

Homeowners’ Policy and Claims Bill of Rights Working Group Meet

In Homeowners' Policy, Insurance News, Uncategorized on July 26, 2013 at 1:32

Many issues were addressed at the recent Homeowners’ Policy and Claims Bill of Rights Working Group.  It was a forum designed to allow consumer complaints to be heard in a series of public hearings and to heighten awareness of various issues.

Representatives from insurance companies were also involved as the occasion offered a venue for both sides to bring up concerns.

Participants debated numerous subjects and the conversation allowed discourse from policy holder lawyers, as well as attorneys who work for insurance companies.  In one instance, Security First Insurance, in response to a procedural complaint, said the company rarely uses the process in discussion.  With more than 180,000, records show only 138 instances of this specific concern, an extremely small percentage.

“It is in the insurance companies’ best interest to settle meritorious claims,” said Melissa Burt DeVriesse, a lawyer for the company.  “We want to make sure our customers are happy.”

For more information on the Working Group, read the story in the Herald Tribune or Gainesville Sun.


Property Insurance Outlook Improving in Florida

In Florida, Insurance Industry on July 19, 2013 at 1:32

Kevin McCarty, Florida’s insurance commissioner, says that Florida is making progress in reforming its property insurance system.

The CAT Fund is in better shape to deal with a serious storm and McCarty praised the state’s fraud-fighting efforts on the insurance front. He said the sinkhole fraud cases are under better control. Consider catastrophic coverage, he said.

Watch the video.

Hurricane Season Again – Time to Check your Home Insurance

In homeowner's insurance, Hurricane season, Hurricanes, Insurance, Insurance Industry on July 11, 2013 at 1:32

Sure, it’s time for summer fun, but hurricane season is also upon us. And that means you have work to do with your homeowner’s insurance.

Major storms have a way of making insurers re-examine what they are covering, and at what price. And in the wake of last year’s Hurricane Sandy, which caused tens of billions of dollars in damages, you can bet that policies are getting a close look.

In addition to expanding the reach of what was the hurricane deductible, insurers are also tightening ambiguities in policies regarding coverage for things like storm surges. For example, in the past, if homeowners suffered wind damage from a hurricane and then experienced flooding from the storm surge, their insurance company might have paid for damages from the flooding. But now insurers are trying to reword policies so that their obligation to deal with this kind of two-part damage is limited.

There is also the chance that insurers will seek to flat-out raise their rates, or even reduce the number of policies they issue in areas that are increasingly vulnerable to storms.

How can you protect yourself from the coming storm of insurance changes?

For starters, read your policy and make sure you understand exactly what is covered, and for how much.

Whatever you do, be prepared for changes ahead.

Read this article for more information.

Fast Track Changes for Residential Property Insurers Extended for 6 Months

In Florida Legislation, Insurance Industry, Insurance News on July 8, 2013 at 1:32

A temporary order from Insurance Commissioner Kevin McCarty allowing residential property insurers to make changes to their policies more quickly has been extended for 6 months.

McCarty issued the order last year because of budget cutbacks in recent years and a large volume of “form filings” — changes sought by insurers to the coverage they can offer consumers — led to a hefty backlog of filings at the Office of Insurance Regulation.

The order allows property insurance companies to certify new changes to their policies are in compliance with state laws and offer the new policies in the market after 30 days without the typical review from regulators. OIR officials can later withdraw the new policies from the market.

Consumer advocates and trial lawyers have criticized the orders as a “trust us” measure from the insurance companies that could lead to abuses.

Rep. Mike Fasano, R-New Port Richey, a perennial insurance industry critic, has used his position as chairman of the Joint Administrative Procedures Committee to crack down on agencies he thinks aren’t following state laws. In a recent interview, he said he’s concerned about reduced oversight from regulators, but acknowledged lawmakers may have played a role in the buildup of the backlog with cuts to OIR’s budget during the recession.

Read more about it here.