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February 2012 Archives

Florida homeowners: private insurers inflate replacement costs

Florida homeowners have started to dread receiving their homeowners' insurance bill. One homeowner in Florida was shocked to see that his homeowners' insurance company increased his total replacement cost value of his home by $57,000 in one year. The homeowners' insurance value is almost double what it would take to rebuild this two-bedroom, 950 square foot house.

Miami-Date County condos hit with insurance rate increase

Condo owners in Miami-Dade County may see an increase in their condo association fees coming soon. State-run insurance company Citizens Property Insurance Corp. said they will start raising insurance rates for many high-rise condominiums in South Florida by roughly 21 percent, as reported by the Sun Sentinel.

Study confirms that flood insurance program needs reform, p. 2

Florida's insurance market has long been a lively topic of discussion among legislators and policymakers. Citizens Property Insurance Corp. has struggled to stay viable and to revert to its intended role as property insurer of last resort. At the same time, Congress has been casting about, trying to figure out what to do about the National Flood Insurance Program.

Study confirms that flood insurance program needs reform, p. 1

President Obama reauthorized the National Flood Insurance Program in January, for what seems to be the hundredth time in recent years. In Congress, a long-term NFIP reauthorization bill passed by the House last summer languishes in the Senate, in spite of the efforts of a bipartisan group of senators. The 41 lawmakers recently sent a letter to Senate leadership urging them to make the insurance program a priority.

Health insurance is costly, but not dependable: Why?

Tell anyone in Miami that health care insurance is expensive and he or she will respond "Tell me something I don't know." That's why it is extremely frustrating for people when they experience problems with their insurance, like a denied claim. Understandably, they feel they have been paying a lot for this protection and do not understand why it is not there for them when they need it.

Is PIP reform coming to Florida? (Part II)

Yesterday we discussed legislation involving auto insurance reform. Some lawmakers want to reform Florida's no-fault auto insurance law in order to protect insurance companies from bad faith insurance litigation. There is still much debate on whether reform is needed and what form any legislation should take. It is also unclear whether any of the proposed bills would eliminate the need for auto insurance litigation, which is necessary for many policyholders to enforce their rights against unscrupulous insurance companies seeking to cut costs.

Is PIP reform coming to Florida?

In our last post we discussed legislation tackling bad faith insurance litigation reform. Bad faith insurance litigation is not the only insurance topic to make it into this legislative session. The state insurance commissioner Kevin McCarty believes that this will be the year that lawmakers finally make reforms to Florida's no-fault auto insurance law.

Florida signs on to death benefit settlement

Florida is one of seven states to sign a settlement with Prudential Financial in a death benefits dispute. The multi-state investigation into the insurance industry's treatment of unpaid life insurance benefits began last May. The settlement requires Prudential, the second-largest life insurer in the country, to institute procedural changes and to pay $17 million to the states to fund compliance monitoring.

Bad faith bill KO'd in House - 'a solution in search of a problem'

Insurance companies and business interests have suffered a blow early on in Florida's legislative session. The House Civil Justice Committee voted recently to kill a bill that would have changed the rules for bad faith insurance litigation.

Florida House approves spinning off hurricane insurance

"Katrina's coming," a Florida state congressman told his colleagues recently. He was urging them to vote for legislation that would allow alternative hurricane insurance to what is provided by the state-backed Citizens Property Insurance Co. The bill passed 66-48 and will go to the state Senate next.

Pet insurance: Family priorities revealed as coverage crisis looms

Every so often, there is a news story about a wealthy woman who has left her multimillion dollar mansion to her cat. Or, there's some guy working out a divorce who insists that he needs $15,000 a week to let his dogs live in the style to which they've become accustomed. At times those stories will include little snippets about insurance, too.

Foreclosure investigation creeps into homeowners market, p. 3

We are wrapping up our discussion of homeowners insurance and lenders' foreclosure practices. Homeowners in Florida have fallen victim to questionable foreclosure practices, and the media has covered those at length. What distressed homeowners may not realize is that their lenders may also have foisted a homeowners insurance policy on them that was a little questionable, too.