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Policy cancellations: You can't fire me, except when you can

As odd as it seems, it is possible that an entire generation of Floridians will never have to live through a hurricane. If the 2015 season is as quiet as the last few years have been, we will have a full decade of hurricane-free living under our belts.

It's almost a shame, because the state has always, it seems, been able to take advantage of the learning opportunities presented by a major storm. Whether we learn from our mistakes or we close the barn door after the horses have bolted, we have found ways to avoid or to reduce the effect of any future disasters.

The best example, really, came out of Hurricane Andrew. The storm decimated southern Florida, but the result was a tougher building code and improved inspection systems.

In our last couple of posts, we have talked about insurance and when the insurer can and cannot cancel a homeowner's policy. A quick look at the statute (F.S.A. § 627.4133) does make us wonder about the circumstances that led to some of the restrictions, especially since some of the consumer-friendly provisions were adopted in 2005 before the worst storms hit. Hmm.

For example: Say the state or federal government declares a state of emergency during or following a hurricane or windstorm, and that storm causes damage to your property. Your insurance company cannot cancel your policy until 90 days after you have made the necessary repairs.

Similarly, an insurance company cannot cancel your policy if your home is damaged by an act of God. There is an exception here, though: The insurance company may request that the policyholder take specific steps to prevent the same type of damage from occurring again. If the policyholder does not follow those instructions, the insurer may cancel the policy.

We'll wrap this up in our next post.

Source: West's F.S.A. § 627.4133, Notice of cancellation, nonrenewal, or renewal premium, via WestlawNext

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