Office of Insurance Regulation

Since 2004, the majority of our law firm’s large insurance battles have focused on hurricane loss insurance disputes. It is not surprising that we are getting phone calls from people asking whether our firm will open offices somewhere between North Carolina and Boston as Hurricane Earl is projected to hit that area. I was surprised by a recent newspaper article that indicated our firm “specializes” in sinkhole losses.

Continue Reading Sinkholes Remain in the News While Eyes are on Hurricane Earl

The Insurance Commissioner has apparently decided to start calling some of my clients. According to the St. Petersburg Times, his office is trying to find statistical information regarding sinkholes reported between 2006 and 2009. We’ll call and try to find out more information so we can help them get accurate answers, but, in "Florida Regulators Investigate Rash of Sinkhole Claims" reporter Jeff Harrington found the following:

Florida Insurance Commissioner Kevin McCarty said Wednesday that he has issued a "data call" to commercial and residential property insurers to collect sinkhole claims information.

Specifically, regulators are seeking details about claims opened anywhere in the state from 2006 to 2010. Included in the report will be the types of claims, testing procedures to determine legitimacy, costs of inspections, locations of claims, legal fees and public adjuster fees, and amount of structural loss.

Continue Reading Sinkhole Investigation Started By Office of Insurance Regulation

A number of policyholder attorneys have asked me why FIGA is being so difficult lately. At one time, it was not that way. There has obviously been a change of the guard because nobody should expect quick resolution of any claim from FIGA based on recent complaints and the developing case law helps demonstrate this point.

Continue Reading FIGA is the New Slow Paying and Litigation Threatening “Insurer” in the Florida Property Insurance Claims Game

An Order by the Office of Insurance Regulation shows one method some Florida insurers may use to “poor mouth” losses to the public and our legislators in Tallahassee while taking millions home through shell accounting techniques. Many of the smaller insurers operate as three corporations–the insurer, a managing general agent, and a holding company. It does not take a financial genius to figure out that investors and managers can siphon off profits by simply charging excessive fees through the managing general agent. The insurance part of the jointly owned enterprise then claims it cannot make any money for various reasons which we have been hearing about in the press and from some insurance lobbyists looking to raise rates and reduce benefits to policyholders.

Continue Reading Are Florida Insurance Companies Really Losing Money? Are Investors Using Management Companies To Take Profits and Leave Little Surplus for Policyholder Claims?

Why do so many of our politicians play to the lobbyists and support laws that harm the average person and voter? This is exactly what has happened with important laws sponsored by the insurance industry lobbyists and then proposed by Florida Senator Mike Bennett of Bradenton and Representative Bill Proctor of St. Augustine. These politicians and other Florida political leaders have sponsored a law that would allow insurance companies to raise the rates of Florida policyholders as much as they want. Indeed, the law they support allows for insurance companies to collude with each other, since it calls for the complete deregulation of rates. As the insurance industry is exempt from anti-trust regulation, based on a bargain it made with the federal government in which it agreed to state regulation of rates, the insurers would be legally exempt from all regulation. Is this stupid or what? Do the Florida political leaders supporting this law think people will be happy when their rates go up 100% in a couple of years, or is this just a payback to the insurance industry and their lobbyists funding certain political action committee dollars? Or, giving them the benefit of the doubt, do they really understand the issue?

Continue Reading Sean Shaw is a Refreshing and Intelligent Advocate for Floridians–We Deserve This Type of Representation

There are times when I am troubled about what I write on this blog. This is one of them. I know that many people are going to read this who have very different viewpoints. When a number of people tell you in advance that they look forward to what you are going to write, there is some tendency to write for the readers rather than having the courage to just place what is in your heart on paper. There is no way I can write about all my thoughts, but I will share points.

Continue Reading Impressions Following the Alternative Dispute Resolution Roundtable

The appraisal clause should not be removed from Florida insurance policies. The concerns of insurers and policyholders can be addressed if we simply do two things…
Continue Reading A Method for Keeping the Appraisal Clause in Property Insurance Policies Which Will Satisfy All Concerns

The Florida Office of Insurance Regulation (OIR) has entered a Consent Order today resolving the attempt by State Farm to leave the Florida property insurance market.

Continue Reading State Farm Florida Withdraws its Plan to Leave the State and Agrees to Non-Renew no More than 125,000 Residential Property Policies

My appointment by Florida’s Governor Charlie Crist to the Citizens Mission Review Task Force afforded me the opportunity to learn about and have a small voice in the Florida insurance marketplace. At War With the Weather: Managing Large-Scale Risks in a New Era of Catastrophes is a significant academic work which our regulators and legislators must read and understand to fully appreciate the complexity of the property insurance issues in Florida and elsewhere. I wish it had been published while I was serving on that Committee. The historic lessons and current conclusions contained in this book are important to everybody living and working along Coastal areas.

Continue Reading “At War With The Weather” is a Must Read for Those Involved in the Debate of the Florida Property Insurance Market

Yesterday, Chad Hemenway, associate editor of BestWeek, reported that State Farm and Florida’s Office of Insurance Regulation jointly moved to delay the administrative hearing that will address State Farm’s move to leave Florida’s property insurance market.  The saga continues….

Continue Reading Florida Insurance News Reports on State Farms Slow March to Leaving