We are at the start of Florida’s Legislative Session for 2016. As usual, policyholders have much to be wary of when the Legislature meets. Besides losing Insurance Commissioner Kevin McCarty, (click here for a great editorial on his tenure), the industry is pursuing its usual wish list. Despite years of Florida’s Legislature passing pro-industry legislation—with no hurricanes—we continue to have the highest property insurance rates in the country. Consumers continue to be told that pro-industry legislation will lead to lower rates and a better market. Unfortunately, Florida’s consumers are paying more for policies that offer less coverage. Notwithstanding that fact, here is a partial list of one group’s legislative priorities for the upcoming session:

Continue Reading Legislative Session 2016 – Some Things Never Change

FAPIA held its annual conference last week at Reunion Resort and Spa in Davenport, Florida. As usual, it was a first class event. The seminars and speakers were incredibly educational and entertaining. Specifically, it was especially interesting to hear from Florida’s Insurance Consumer Advocate (Sha’Ron James). As set out in my prior blog, Great News for Florida Policyholders, Sha’Ron is a good friend and a friend to all Florida insurance consumers. As a personal note, it was an absolute honor for me to give the introduction for her keynote address. Her speech did not disappoint. She was compassionate, insightful, and funny! Her focus on tackling the issue of Assignment of Benefits was very well received by all in attendance. I hope that she is able to get the data and information she needs to address this issue from a consumer-friendly perspective.

Continue Reading Notes from a Successful FAPIA Conference

The Tampa Bay Times reports that “Even if Florida gets blasted by four hurricanes in one season as it did a decade ago, 67 Florida-based insurance companies tested by the state have enough of a financial cushion to handle the damage…” The article discusses a “stress test” that these companies were subjected to. The stress test had some interesting results as set forth below:

Continue Reading Report shows that Florida Based Insurance Companies are Strong

Readers of this blog know my position on the ability of Tallahassee to “fix” what they perceive as a “problem” with regard to property insurance. Once Tallahassee gets involved in an issue, it usually gets resolved in a way that hurts policyholders. SB 596 is a perfect example of this phenomenon. Regardless of how you feel about the Assignment of Benefits issue, SB 596 (proposed by Senator Hukill) makes some very serious changes to the laws governing AOBs. The entire bill is attached but the highlights are below.

Continue Reading Hot off the Presses…a Proposed Assignment of Benefits “Fix” from Tallahassee

Unfortunately, where you get your news can determine what the news really is. Don’t believe me? Flip back and forth between CNN, FOX News, and MSNBC after a Presidential Debate or a State of the Union Address. It’s like we were all watching three different events. Personally, I have to watch several shows and visit several websites before I can be comfortable that I have an “unbiased” report of what happened. I believe our inability to readily get “unbiased” news has led to some of the political dysfunction and gridlock we are experiencing today.

Continue Reading “You are entitled to your opinion. But you are not entitled to your own facts.”

I came across the article below and was pleasantly surprised by the contents. As you can see, Citizens has reworded and toned down their “opt out” letters to consumers. “Opt out” letters are sent to current Citizens policyholders and strongly encourage those policyholders to go to another (private) carrier. Unfortunately, these letters are confusing and contain such threatening language that consumers are left wondering about the best course of action. I applaud Citizens for trying to improve this aspect of their operations.

Continue Reading A Friendlier Citizens?