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March 2014 Archives

President signs NFIP bill, but is that the end of the debate? p2

Over our last few posts, we have reviewed some of the higher-profile provisions of the Mendendez-Grimm Homeowner Flood Insurance Affordability Act of 2013 that President Barack Obama signed into law on March 21, 2014. In a flurry of activity after the flood insurance premium hikes calculated under the Biggert-Waters Flood Insurance Reform Act of 2012 stunned policyholders in the last quarter of 2013, Congress was able to cobble together a law that reversed many of the provisions of Biggert-Waters.

President signs NFIP bill, but is that the end of the debate?

President Barack Obama has signed the Homeowner Flood Insurance Affordability Act of 2013 into law. While both parties supported the measure -- the "Menendez-Grimm" law, for short -- no sooner was the ink dry on the act than lawmakers began to plan "real" reform. The Tampa Bay News Weekly, for example, reported this week that Florida Congressman David Jolly has introduced a bill that would extend some of the flood insurance reforms in Menendez-Grimm to commercial properties and second homes.

Tell 'em what they've won! More Menendez-Grimm details

We have a friend who believes that "grandfathering" is the most confusing term used by rulemakers. We suggested she read the tax code for other candidates. The subject came up because we were about to explain more provisions of the Menendez-Grimm Homeowner Flood Insurance Affordability Act of 2013, and grandfathering is front and center.

Menendez-Grimm: Out with the bad insurance law, in with the good

News sources are saying that President Obama is "set to sign" the flood insurance bill we discussed in our last post. There were whispers of a veto earlier this year because the White House had some qualms about the bill (see our Jan. 31, 2014, post). A report from the Office of Management and Budget had questioned the fiscal wisdom of rolling back the planned rate increases from the Biggert-Waters Flood Insurance Reform Act of 2012. If rates did not increase, the National Flood Insurance Program would continue to operate with a significant deficit, the OMB said.

More policyholder-friendly NFIP reform just a signature away

The U.S. Senate has passed the Menendez-Grimm bill, also known as HR 3370, also known as the Homeowner Flood Insurance Affordability Act of 2013, also known -- informally, at least -- as the antidote to Biggert-Waters. After months of wrangling in both the House and the Senate, the bill is finally making its way to the president's desk, where it may or may not be signed. We have been following the action for the past few months.

Slower rate of growth good news for commercial policyholders

We usually talk about consumers' issues with insurance companies. Flood insurance, homeowner insurance, auto insurance and life insurance -- these are topics that focus on Florida residents and their families. In this post, though, we have something for businesses: the fourth-quarter results of Towers Watson's Commercial Lines Insurance Pricing Survey.

Consumers not so predictable in insurance 'switching' survey p2

A friend of ours plays a game she calls "Rather." Players are given two bad choices and must choose one over the other. The choices range from the innocent to the gruesome: Would you rather be the Scarecrow or the Tin Man? Or, a Florida favorite, would you rather be attacked by an alligator or have to relive high school?

Consumers not so predictable in insurance 'switching' survey

The insurance industry group at Accenture PLC released the results of a survey recently that must have made a few agents and brokers shudder. The results, in fact, may explain in part why the industry is so anxious for Congress to pass the National Association of Registered Agents and Brokers Reform Act (see our Feb. 4 post): If they cannot sell across borders, agents and brokers will have a tough time competing with, oh, Amazon and Google.

Chinese drywall hits the fan in ruling against manufacturer p2

We are continuing our discussion of the Fifth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals decision in a class action case against one of the manufacturers of Chinese drywall. The court has ordered that the company pay damages to the homeowners who were the named plaintiffs in the class action. The plaintiffs are not from Florida, but the decision clears the way for Florida homeowners to pursue the manufacturer for damages as well.