We're taking a brief break from Florida's insurance woes. The sinkhole issue is being hotly debated by legislators and newspaper editorial staffs. The solvency of Citizens is at risk. Coastal communities will be paying exorbitant rates for homeowner insurance if something doesn't change soon.... We're heading north to look at a problem that's arisen between a county government and its insurer.
While the Florida General Assembly continues its debate over sinkhole coverage, rate increases and property insurance coverage in general -- not to mention changing the name of Citizens Insurance to Taxpayer-Funded Property Insurance Corporation -- a group of community leaders are trying to figure out a way to help the victims of an accident in a county park.
We're continuing our discussion of an insurance bad faith case that recently moved a step closer to trial. The plaintiff suffered from anorexia and entered an outpatient treatment program. Her physicians discharged her shortly after she checked in, because they believed she needed more intensive treatment.
A federal judge recently denied a motion for summary judgment in a case brought by a health insurance policyholder. The woman claimed her insurer acted in bad faith when it denied payment for a residential program to treat her anorexia. The case was not in Florida; the ultimate outcome, though, could influence bad faith claims across the country.
We've been discussing job loss, or "unexpected unemployment," insurance. The subject will come up during a home buyer's negotiations with lenders or builders, and Florida borrowers should know that the insurance will likely be presented as coverage at no cost to the home buyer -- "Why not? It's free!" But it's not really free -- the premiums can be steep, even though the lender gets a wholesale rate from the insurance company, and are rolled into other costs or fees associated with the purchase. In addition, there are eligibility rules and caps on monthly benefits to consider.
We're continuing our discussion of job loss insurance. It's a different kind of coverage from homeowner insurance or auto insurance in terms of benefit triggers and maximum payments. Florida home buyers would come upon it when working with a mortgage lender, homebuilder or developer. The insurance will pay the mortgage if the borrower loses his job.
When you think about insurance for your home, you usually think about your property insurance and maybe mortgage insurance. (Mortgage insurance protects the lender if you die or become disabled.) In Florida, you'll probably think about flood insurance, too. But would it ever occur to you to buy job loss, or "unintended unemployment," insurance?
We're taking a brief detour from Florida's insurance woes today. We noticed a brief news article about an insurance company that's taking full advantage of new technology while offering coverage to countries that have no insurance industry to speak of. The article talked about the insurance sale, but not claims payment, though, so we'll leave that to speculation.
In our last post, we were talking about the fate of Florida's homeowners insurance report card. Mandated by a 2007 law, the report card was intended to be a tool for Florida homeowners to compare insurance companies using just a few key measures. After years in development, the first report card was completed in December.
As the Florida Legislature works on bills to change the insurance market in the state, a state-mandated homeowners insurance report card dies a quiet death. Lawmakers approved the report card in 2007 to give Florida homeowners a way to compare insurers as well as to move insurers to improve their customer service.