Florida’s sinkhole problem is well documented; however, a common problem related to sinkhole claims is not discussed enough. Many carriers improperly nonrenew insurance policies after an insured reports a sinkhole claim. Just today, for example, Olympus Insurance Company nonrenewed a client’s policy, despite confirming a sinkhole loss just one month ago. My client’s neighbor reported a sinkhole claim, and the neighbor’s carrier recognized coverage for the claim. Repairs were completed. During my client’s claim, my clients informed Olympus Insurance Company of the neighboring sinkhole. Olympus tested my client’s residence for sinkhole activity and confirmed a sinkhole loss. Today, my client received a Notice of Nonrenewal for “Proximity to sinkhole.”


Continue Reading Unless They Pay Policy Limits, Florida Law Does Not Allow Insurance Companies To Nonrenew Your Policy Because You Suffered A Sinkhole Loss, But This Does Not Stop Carriers From Trying

Florida law should reflect public policy that Citizens Property Insurance Corporation is the insurer of last resort. Currently, Citizens is merely the insurance agent’s insurer of last resort. I propose legislation be enacted that makes a clearinghouse for admitted insurers to take policies before they get into Citizens and before Citizens renews any policy.


Continue Reading Citizens Clearinghouse—A Method to Make Citizens an Insurer of Last Resort

Over the course of the last several months, insurance lobbyists have worked closely with state-run Citizens Property Insurance on a deal that would effectively subsidize the profits of a handful of large private carriers.

If you’ve been paying close attention to the local and state section of your newspaper, you may have seen the story – Most Floridians, however, have not.


Continue Reading Florida’s Private Insurers Are Looking for a Bailout

People’s Trust Ranks Number 1 for complaints…again.

In Florida, the Office of Insurance Regulation is required by Florida Statute §624.313 to publish statistics and ratios on the complaints consumers submit against insurance companies. The OIR’s primary responsibility is regulation, compliance, and enforcement of statutes relating to the business of insurance and the monitoring of industry markets. The OIR must annually publish several categories of information about the insurance companies doing business in Florida.


Continue Reading Insurance Company Complaint Rankings for 2010 Have Been Released

The Florida Insurance Guaranty Association (FIGA) is Florida’s public entity for resolving claims for certain insolvent insurers. FIGA is controlled mostly by statute, and attorney’s fees are no exception. Generally, under Florida Statute § 627.428, attorney’s fees are available for an insured who succeeds on legal action against his or her insurance company. However, Florida Statute § 631.70 exempts FIGA from § 627.428 unless FIGA, “denies by affirmative action, other than delay, a covered claim or a portion thereof.”


Continue Reading Florida Court Draws a Hard Line on Attorney’s Fees from FIGA

A deductible is an important element of every insurance policy. It is the amount the policyholder agrees to pay before insurance coverage kicks in, or the portion of the risk the policyholder agrees to self insure. It is no secret that insurance carriers prefer to issue policies with higher deductibles for certain perils, including hurricane losses. In Florida, insurance carriers can require a separate and distinct deductible for hurricane losses and another deductible for other perils under the insurance policy. The bait for consumers to accept a higher deductible for hurricane losses is a lower affordable premium. Many times, policyholders are not even aware they have a separate deductible for hurricane losses and only find out after their hurricane loss. This exposes policyholders to potential financial ruin. To ensure that policyholders are aware of the separate and usually higher hurricane loss deductible, the Legislature requires admitted carriers to print a notice in bold font.


Continue Reading Florida Statute §627.701 Requires Insurance Carriers to Warn Policyholders of Higher Hurricane Deductible

The Florida Office of Insurance Regulation “OIR” is required by Florida Statute §624.313 to publish statistics and ratios on the complaints consumers submit against insurance companies. Its primary responsibility is regulation, compliance and enforcement of statutes relating to the business of insurance and the monitoring of industry markets. Florida Statute requires the OIR to annually publish several categories of information about the insurance companies doing business in Florida. When the 2010 report was released in February 2011, the report tabulated data on Consumer Complaints against insurance companies from complaints lodged in 2009 only.


Continue Reading Top 50 Florida Homeowner Insurers’ Consumer Complaint Stats from 2009

Over the course of two years, Sarasota Herald-Tribune reporter Paige St. John meticulously examined Florida’s property insurers, compiling mountains of data by digging into financial records and chasing industry executives to far away places like Bermuda and Monte Carlo. St. John’s work exposed Florida insurers’ clandestine web of offshore accounts and shell corporations, which allow them to hide massive profits while leaving Floridians exposed to substantial risk.

Continue Reading Pulitzer Prize Winning Investigative Report More Relevant Than Ever