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Archive for the ‘Hurricanes’ Category

Forecasters See Quiet Atlantic Hurricane Season

In Florida, Hurricane season, Hurricanes, Natural Disasters on June 11, 2014 at 1:32

Due to rising heat along the equator in the Pacific Oceans, researchers at Colorado State University predict that this will be the quietest Atlantic hurricane season in five years.

Phil Klotzbach, lead author of the forecast, said there will be nine named storms, with winds of at least 39 miles (63 kilometers) per hour, are expected to develop this year, with three of them growing into hurricanes and one becoming a major storm.

The likely development of El Nino in the Pacific and cool sea surface temperatures in the tropical Atlantic are possible explanations for the low forecast. The formation of El Nino is important because warm waters in the equatorial Pacific trigger atmospheric changes that lead to more wind shear across the tropical Atlantic. Shear is when winds at different altitudes blow in multiple directions or speeds and have the potential to tear apart the structure of a budding tropical system, weakening or breaking it apart.

The Atlantic hurricane season is watched closely by many industries, like energy, commodity and insurance, because of the effect hurricanes have on lives, property and markets in the U.S., Mexico and the Caribbean. The Gulf of Mexico is home to about 6 percent of U.S. natural gas output, 23 percent of oil production and more than 45 percent of petroleum refining capacity. Florida, which has been struck by more tropical systems than any other state, is the second-largest producer of oranges behind Brazil.

The last time the Atlantic produced only nine named storms was 2009, which was also a year in which an El Nino formed, according to the National Hurricane Center in Miami. That was the least number of such storms since 1997, which had eight.

 

Click here for more information.

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As Hurricane Season Looms, Act Now to Reduce Costs

In Florida, homeowner's insurance, Hurricane season, Hurricanes, Insurance on April 25, 2014 at 1:32

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Florida’s State Board of Administration – the governor, the chief financial officer, and the attorney general –will have the chance to take proactive steps in reducing the cost of hurricane taxes for all Floridians before the start of 2014 hurricane season.

Global investors learned during the recent recession that they should invest a small percentage of their assets in opportunities which do not relate to the economy. By exploring global capital and reinsurance markets to determine if Florida can economically move some of its hurricane risk out of the state and into global financial markets, the SBA will have the chance to both lower the state of Florida’s risk of hurricane taxes and the ability of the Florida Hurricane Catastrophe Fund (Cat Fund) to pay its claims in a timely manner.

The Cat Fund has an obligation to provide up to $17 billion of coverage to Florida’s homeowners insurance companies. In the case that the Fund does not have enough the ability to pay these claims on its own, it will attempt to obtain the rest from the bond market even though financial advisors have indicated that it will not have the bonding capacity to make up the difference.

Bonds issued by the Cat Fund are paid back over 30 years through premiums, or hurricane taxes, on almost all property and casualty policies. Automobile policyholders, all businesses, charities, religious institutions, local governments and school boards are paying hurricane taxes yet none are benefiting from the Fund that goes to strictly reinsuring homeowners’ claims.

By moving hurricane risk out of Florida, the amount of hurricane taxes assessed on citizens, businesses and school boards will be reduced and the Cat Fund will be better prepared to pay its claims in a timely manner.

 

Read more here

Sales Tax Holiday an Integral Part of the Property Insurance Reform Agenda

In Hurricanes, Insurance News, Insurance Rates, Property Damage, Property Insurance on February 17, 2014 at 1:32

Governor Rick Scott is pursuing legislative action to allow a sales-tax holiday.  The goal is 15 days of reprieve from taxes in order for homeowners to purchase hurricane preparedness supplies.    This covers the less costly items like batteries, flashlights, and more significant measures such as hurricane shutters.

According to the R Street Institute, a national think tank that houses extensive property insurance research, the proverbial ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.  “Each dollar spent on mitigation saves society an average of $4,” said Christian Camara, Florida state director for the R Street Institute.  By preventing property damage, exposure and risk are lessened, and insurance rates drop.

We’ll have to see if the legislation goes through, and if people take advantage of it properly.

Read here to find out more.

Reinsurance Rates are Down – Why Not Premiums

In Florida, Hurricanes, Insurance on January 24, 2014 at 1:32

Florida Insurance Commissioner Kevin McCarty is completing a study to determine why property insurance premiums have not lowered along with reinsurance. The study is expected to be completed by January 15, 2014.  Jack Nicholson, the executive director of the Florida Hurricane Catastrophe Fund – said that the fund that has been created to provide insurance for insurance companies is nearly $10 .  So why all the rate hikes?

The fact is that reinsurance costs have dropped noticeably – from 15 to 20% on average.  McCarty did say that some insurer have suggested a reduced rate is coming, and noted some of the differences in the rate structure.

We look forward to the results of the study.

No Hurricanes Shouldn’t Mean No Insurance

In Hurricane season, Hurricanes, Insurance, Insurance Industry on October 28, 2013 at 1:32

While a calm hurricane season, such as the once that just occurred has benefits, i.e. helping maintain homeowner’s insurance rates, it’s a risk to get too relaxed.  The Daytona Beach News-Journal appropriately urges homeowners to avoid complacency.

The fact that meteorologists predicted an above average number of hurricanes – yes, not only more than we had but more than we usually have – underscores how imprecise predictions are. The danger then is that homeowners, especially ones along the coast must continue to wary and vigilant.

Being lulled into a fall sense of security can wreak as much damage as the storm itself.

Click here to read more.

Take that, Catastrophic Earthquake!

In Hurricanes, Insurance, Interesting News, Science on October 18, 2013 at 1:32

Property damage from natural disasters is sadly not unusual. Hurricanes, tornadoes, flood waters, fires, mudslides and earthquakes can all wreak havoc on homes. But enter the world of science! Maybe the inevitable damage is actually avoidable.

Researchers from Johns Hopkins University spent many months to see if they could build a better mousetrap – or in this case, a better home. Two homes, one of a bare steel skeleton and another with exterior sheathing and nonstructural elements were subjected to more than 130 shake tests. The results were excellent!

Then, the team began its most powerful test: simulating a 1994 earthquake that rocked Los Angeles, killing 60 people and causing $13 billion in damage.

How will this research effect property in the future? Insurance companies will take note.  Safer buildings could be the wave of the future – or they could be all about the science and not the residence.

Check it out here and watch the video above.

Emergency Preparedness is Key and Not Just for Hurricanes

In Florida, Hurricane season, Hurricanes on September 16, 2013 at 1:32

Florida Association of Public Insurance Adjusters (FAPIA), in partnership with FEMA, is urging commercial and residential property owners to mark National Preparedness Month in September by planning for emergencies both big and small.

September is National Preparedness Month and it is a good time for Floridians to evaluate their storm plans to include a full understanding of their property insurance policies and their obligations in the event of damage.

FAPIA is urging policyholders to prepare now by taking a few but very important steps. One of the vital steps is to carefully review your insurance coverage to determine your deductible on any potential loss.

To read the complete list of steps and more about National Preparedness Month click here.

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.

What’s Happening in the Florida Legislature

In Florida Legislation, homeowner's insurance, Hurricanes, Insurance News on May 31, 2013 at 1:32

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With so many issues spinning around the legislature while Florida lawmakers are in session, homeowner insurance is front and center – or at least way up on the list.  Insurance News Report follows the fray, with an article titled “Lawmakers aim to take action before hurricanes cause financial ruin.”  True, Florida hasn’t had a severe storm in eight years, but it’s only a matter of time – everyone agrees.   Hurricane Sandy made its way up the coast to an unprepared Northeast – but Florida will not be in the same position.

For more information on the legislative session, click here.

The Multi-State Compact

In Florida Legislation, Hurricanes, Insurance on April 18, 2013 at 1:32

The idea of joining together states that all face risk of hurricane impact has some momentum, and there is a push from State Democrats to strongly consider the option.

Governor Scott has been urged to work with governors of other Southeastern Atlantic and Gulf states to pursue ways of addressing the issues of hurricanes, damage and rising insurance rates.

The Tampa Bay Times reported on the various factions that have a stake in the hurricane – insurance arena.

We all know there are no easy answers – so legislators are looking at answers that may be harder to enact.