Paige St. John wrote a Pulitzer winning series on the corruption of Florida’s insurance industry and propaganda by the insurance company trade associations nearly nine years ago. I was thinking about this and one particular article, How Florida Insurers Make Millions On The Side, when the Security First CEO blamed the furious and upset policyholders for hiring attorneys to help them get their claims paid. I suppose the Security First claims department was counting on policyholders just giving up?
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It has been almost eight months since Hurricane Michael devastated the eastern side of the Florida Panhandle. Not surprisingly, many residents and business owners are exhausted. Exhausted in the deepest sense—exhausted from waiting, exhausted from hoping, exhausted from failed promises made by their insurer, which benefited from premiums faithfully paid, only to find out that their insurer has “exhausted” its obligation to them. What is the recourse for the insured who has purchased insurance coverage to protect against a catastrophe such as Hurricane Michael? Will an insured be indemnified under its contract of insurance, including recovery of the costs and expense to pursue the benefits of the policy in court if necessary?
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Insurance regulation is important. Unlike other commercial products, insurance is a product that serves the public trust. Without regulation, history has proven that insurers cannot control themselves. They go broke just when we need them the most and their claims practices, if unchecked, can be atrocious.

States with a strong admitted marketplace should be encouraged. States without a strong admitted marketplace run the risk of outrageous rates, bankrupt insurers and the lack of an insurance market which meets the needs specific to that state. Florida, with its peculiar geographic risk to hurricanes, especially needs a strong admitted market.
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After Hurricane Michael, on October 15, 2018, Florida Insurance Commissioner David Altmaier issued an Emergency Order No. 234790-18-EO, that affected insurers writing insurance in the following counties affected by Hurricane Michael: Bay, Calhoun, Franklin, Gadsden, Gulf, Hamilton, Holmes, Jackson, Jefferson, Leon, Liberty, Madison, Suwannee, Taylor, Wakulla, and Washington Counties.
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The Florida Office of Insurance Regulation recently released updated data from Hurricane Irma.1 A quick review of the data paints an interesting picture. While we all know that Irma did substantial damage in Florida, the sheer size of the numbers is still daunting. Almost one million claims have been reported (997,237) totaling over $10,000,000,000.00 in estimated damage. These are the numbers self-reported from insurers.
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You filed a claim with your insurance company after suffering a loss and it is refusing to pay what is owed under your insurance policy – what now? One of your options is to file a Civil Remedy Notice of Insurer Violation, or CRN, with the Department of Financial Services. The CRN serves as notice to the insurance company that a bad faith claim is forthcoming.
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I usually don’t cut and paste press releases in their entirety and offer them to our blog readers.  However, I have to make an exception this time.  My good friend, Sha’Ron James, was recently appointed as Florida’s Insurance Consumer Advocate.  I worked with Sha’Ron in multiple capacities.  We worked together in private practice for a Tallahassee law firm before we both moved on to the Department of Financial Services.  I can not think of a better person to stand up for the interests of the insurance consumers of this state.  Sha’Ron is the real deal – smart, compassionate, and hard-working.  Being the Insurance Consumer Advocate is a hard job, but I know she is up for it.  I am excited for the future.  Congratulations Sha’Ron!  CFO Jeff Atwater is also to be commended for making such a wonderful appointment.  The press release announcing her appointment is set forth below.


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