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Property insurance carriers seeking large rate hikes on Florida policyholders

 

 

 

(The Center Square) – A quadfecta of factors is merging into one bottom-line reality for Florida’s 6.2 million property insurance policyholders: significant rate hikes await when they next renew policies – if thinly capitalized carriers opt to renew them at all.

Tallahassee-based Capitol Preferred Insurance Co. (CPI) has filed a proposed 26.2 percent premium increase for its 84,000 customers, and its affiliate, Southern Fidelity Property & Casualty (SFPCI), has submitted a proposed 31.1 percent rate hike to the Florida Office of Insurance Regulation (OIR).

CPI and SFPCI join a growing list of insurers citing skyrocketing reinsurance costs, loss creep from 2017 and 2018 hurricanes, coastal flooding and excessive litigation in requesting across-the-board property insurance rate hikes.

State law requires insurers appear before OIR if they propose rate increases of more than 15 percent. Between 2013-19, only one did so.

Since December, however, at least eight insurers have requested rate hikes topping 15 percent, including Edison’s Insurance Co., nearly 22 percent; Velocity Risk, 28 percent; and National Specialty Insurance Co., 28 percent.

Numerous other carriers have filed for increases just under that 15 percent threshold. Security First, which initially sought a 17.5 percent increase, raised premiums 12.8 percent and didn’t renew 5,000 policies.

Universal Property and Casualty, the state’s largest carrier, has filed for a 12.4 percent increase; People’s Trust, 10.9 percent; AIG, 9.6 percent; Florida Family, 6.5 percent; and FedNat, 5.5 percent.

CPI writes business in South Carolina and Louisiana, in addition to Florida, and owns SFPCI, which has 113,000 policies across Florida, South Carolina, Louisiana and Mississippi.

CPI had 108,870 Florida policies as of May 3, according to OIR, making it one of the state’s top 10 homeowners insurance companies.

OIR approved CPI’s request in May to shed 23,800 policies it inherited from SFPCI in February 2019, leaving it with 84,000 Florida policies, “to protect the best interests of the public and policyholders.”

CPI initially proposed a 47 percent hike, amended it to 36.5 percent and then 26.2 percent after OIR issued a consent order in May allowing it to drop the 23,800 policies because without the cancellations the carrier “will continue to generate unsustainable losses.”

CPI reported net losses of $5.1 million in 2017, $17.8 million in 2018 and $25.7 million in 2019.

During a February OIR hearing, CPI/SFPCI President and CEO Jimmy Graganella said reinsurance costs and lawsuits are primary drivers in driving up rates, with loss creep and coastal flooding not related to hurricanes also contributing.

Florida’s insurance structure is based on reinsurance, essentially insurance for insurers, because many independents that emerged after major carriers abandoned the state after the 2004-05 hurricane seasons are thinly capitalized.

Many rely on private capital from hedge funds and other sources that are essentially gambling hurricanes won’t happen to incur mass losses.

After a decade without a landfall hurricane, 2017’s Hurricane Irma caused $17 billion in damage, and 2018’s Hurricane Michael as much as $12 billion, ending an era of “soft pricing.”

Because Florida allows claims to be filed three years after an event, reinsurers are hedging their bets by requesting carriers raise rates between 25 percent to 45 percent to account for loss creep from the 2017 and 2018 storms.

CPI also cited leaks and increasingly routine coastal flooding from rising sea levels as significant cost-drivers.

Graganella said although Florida lawmakers revised the state’s “assignment of benefits” (AOB) provision in 2019, excessive litigation continues to impose significant costs on insurers, with 36 percent of claims received by his companies the last year filed by attorneys on behalf of policyholders, up from 4 percent several years ago.

 

 

 

 

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10 ways to prepare your home for hurricane season

 

We are right in the middle of hurricane season. The National Oceanic Atmospheric Administration expects higher than normal Atlantic hurricane season with a high number of storms and hurricanes and so far they have been right on. 

Here are a few things you can do to stormproof your home and property as much as possible. 

Invest in HVAC unit covers

Not a lot of people know that air conditioner units have covers to protect from falling debris. 

Check your HVAC unit’s manufacturer and contact the company for a cover; the specific manufacturer of your unit has covers that work with your system so that it works in full capacity when the cover is in use

Plywood on windows

When you live in hurricane-prone areas it is always a good idea to have half-inch-thick plywood cut for your windows at the ready. If a tropical storm or hurricane is approaching you can place the plywood on the exterior of your window. Check out this link for a detailed description of how to install plywood to your exterior windows. 4 Ways to Board Up Windows for a Hurricane

Install impact-resistant windows

“High impact windows are what you want — if you want your house to have a better chance of surviving a hurricane!” 

There are 2 main types of impact windows, depending on the degree of impact resistance (i.e. likelihood of shattering) you’re after:

  1. One type of impact windows is designed for small missile (projectile) impacts. These windows consist of multiple layers of polyvinyl butyral (PVB) sandwiched between 2 sheets of glass. The glass is then placed in an autoclave at least 600 degrees Celsius under high pressure — to temper the glass in order to increase its strength.

  2. The other type of impact windows is designed for larger missile impacts. These windows are referred to as PET laminated glass and glass-clad polycarbonate. In most cases, the windows are attached to the frame with structural silicone sealant. 

Source of above info here!

Clear gutters and drains

Make sure the gutters and drains are clear of debris as there will be a lot of water rushing through those drains. 

 

Trim trees and shrubbery

Trim the bushes and branches around your home. Trees with branches touching your roof can aid in ripping tiles or shingles off causing further water leakage. 

 

Check the foundation

Check around the perimeter of your home checking for any signs of cracks or stress in the foundation. Water can leak through these cracks. Patch the problem areas. 

 

 

Protect appliances

When Power outages and surges can cause damage to the interior appliances. When a hurricane is heading in your direction it is wise to put appliance up on wood or concrete blocks in order to keep the motor away from flooding. It is important to never walk into a room where there is flooding when the electricity is not turned off. 

 

Buy a generator

As someone who has lived through hurricane Irma, I can attest to the fact that a good strong generator is ESSENTIAL in surviving the power outages. If you have a powerful one you can plug in the refrigerator and for the love of all things you can also plug in a fan to keep from dying of heat in the state of Florida. In my opinion it’s important to purchase a generator with enough energy possibilities to have multiple things running. 

Verify insurance coverage

Give your Give us a call to review your homeowners policy BEFORE a tropical storm is a named hurricane. We will make sure your policy is covering everything that is needed to protect your home and belongings!~  (239) 593-7333

 

Secure important documents

 

Make sure your important documents are secured, photocopied, backed up and waterproofed! 

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Tropical Storm Josephine to form into hurricane within 24 hours.

 

 

Another tropical storm in this record-breaking hurricane season! This one is predicted to turn into a hurricane sometime in the next day! Check out this article below written By Joe Mario Pedersen, Orlando Sentinel ARTICLE FOUND HERE

Tropical Depression 11 has yet to make the push into a tropical storm Thursday morning, but meteorologists are seeing data that suggests its development could happen sometime in the next 24 hours, the National Hurricane Center said in its 5 a.m. report.

If it does, it will be the tenth named storm of the year and will be named Tropical Storm Josephine.

TD 11 has maximum sustained winds of 35 mph. If it develops strength over 39 mph, it will be classified as a tropical storm.

The depression is about 1,075 miles of the northern Leeward Islands and is moving west, northwest at 15 mph toward the Caribbean islands, but is expected to turn northeast away from Florida.

Satellite imagery is showing new convection in the storm is forming closer to the center, which suggests that re-organization is going on meaning short-term strengthening is still very much expected, the NHC said.

But looking at this storm in the long term, it doesn’t have much a future, said FOX 35 meteorologist Glenn Richards.

“Over the weekend it’s going to encounter a lot of wind shear and dry air due to the Saharan Air Layer,” Richards said. “It’s going to weaken the system as it gradually turns north.”

The Saharan Air Layer is a plume of beige dust that whips off the African continent every year and into the upper atmosphere, which then blows into the tropical Atlantic region. The dust acts as a hurricane shield to the area by absorbing moisture and disturbing the still air with wind sheer. However, the SAL is expected to peak next week meaning less dry dust will be occupying the air.

The season has seen nine named storms including two hurricanes plus the short-lived Tropical Depression 10. Richards is surprised the storm count is already so high this season.

“It might be the highest it’s ever been in my 27-year career here in Central Florida,” Richards said.”And we’re only in the middle of August.”

The high storm count goes hand-in-hand with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s adjusted 2020 tropical storm forecast, which predicts a total of 19 to 25 named storms before the end of the season on Nov. 30 - the most NOAA has ever predicted in a season.

The other remaining names for 2020 are Kyle, Laura, Marco, Nana, Omar, Paulette, Rene, Sally, Teddy, Vicky and Wilfred.

 

If the total amount of 2020 storms exceeds the designated name list, hurricane specialists will begin using letters from the Greek alphabet to name storm; a tactic meteorologists have only had to use once before in 2005, which had a total of 28 named storms.

 

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