Seconds after we published our last post, the U.S. Senate passed the bill that included both the Homeowner Flood Insurance Availability Act and the National Association of Registered Agents and Brokers Reform Act. The flood insurance act will keep flood insurance subsidies in place for four years. During that time, the Federal Emergency Management Agency -- the agency responsible for the National Flood Insurance Program -- will complete an affordability study and perfect new flood maps.
The time has come, it seems, to talk of flood insurance rate hike delays, of months or years and agent licensing and economically distressed policyholders -- and, as Lewis Carroll would add, whether pigs have wings. The debate over the rate hikes associated with implementation of the Biggert-Waters Flood Insurance Reform Act continues in both the House and the Senate, and the White House has chimed in as well.
There have been a few developments on the flood insurance front, and we will discuss those in future posts. There is more to Florida than its waterfront homes and coastal flood plains, though. We are also a state with a sizeable population of retirees and older people. And that means we have other insurance concerns.
As we have said time and time again, insurance is all about risk. In some circles, "risk" is merely code for "gambling," but the industry shies away from using the latter for some fairly obvious reasons. Imagine, for example, that your insurance agent asks you how much you'd like to bet that your teenager will crash the car or your neighbor will break a leg on your front steps. Risk is a much more palatable word.
Questions about insurance coverage often turn on small details. A decision from the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals -- Florida is in the 11th Circuit -- illustrates the point and offers insight into just how complicated insurance litigation can be.
Another 45,000 homeowners policies could be leaving Citizens Property Insurance Corp. in March. Florida's insurer of last resort has been trying to shed policyholders and their risk for the past couple of years, and the Office of Insurance Regulation recently approved another "takeout." We discussed the overall effort and the company's goal of moving 400,000 policies to private insurers in our Sept. 27, 2013 post.
We are talking about a bad faith lawsuit that settled for $18 million. The case is not from Florida, but, as we said in our last post, it's rare for even legal periodicals to write about these cases. That is not to say, however, that bad faith litigation is rare.
It isn't often that an insurance bad faith lawsuit finds its way into the news, so when one does come up we jump at the opportunity to talk about it -- even if it has nothing to do with Florida.
The results of a survey conducted on behalf of the Independent Insurance Agents and Brokers of America and Trusted Choice got us to thinking about what consumers know about their homeowners and auto insurance coverage. As we said in our last post, 61 percent of respondents were somewhat familiar or not familiar with the particulars of their policies.
If we have learned nothing else from all the news coverage of Healthcare.gov and rollouts of state health insurance exchanges, we have learned that most health insurance policies renew on January 1. If our health insurance is part of an employee benefit package, we probably renew our life and disability insurance at the same time. It's routine.