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March 2015 Archives

Flood insurance 'reform' continues in the Florida Legislature

Florida has been so lucky for the past few years. We have, for the most part, been ignored by the Atlantic hurricane seasons, and we have yet to see the massive annual snowfalls that the Northeast has put up with this year. Don't laugh -- the weather has been weird enough lately that anything seems possible. Next week we may see frogs falling from the sky.

Renewal blunder means big trouble for board of directors p2

It is not easy to sue the officers and directors of a business organization. You may believe in your product, but you know enough about human nature that you do not want to be personally liable if something goes wrong. You form a corporation -- or a limited liability partnership or another form of business organization -- to protect yourself and your family. The company is liable for any losses. The directors, officers, shareholders or members are off the hook.

Renewal blunder means big trouble for board of directors

In our January series about understanding insurance policies, we focused on homeowners insurance and threw in a little auto coverage now and then. Our reasoning was simple: More people are likely to have a claim under one of these policies than their other non-health insurance policies. Start big, then narrow your scope: When you know what to look for in a homeowners policy, chances are good you will be able to find the important information in any other policy.

You don't have to wait for FEMA to contest an insurance claim

In 2012, Hurricane Sandy raged across the east coast. Although the storm hit some areas harder than it did others, it caused property damage from Florida to Maine. The damage resulted in 144,000 claims filed with insurance companies contracted by the National Flood Insurance Program.

Slip slidin' away with insurance unfair trade practices p3

In October 2010, Slate published an article online about payday lenders and a particularly egregious practice -- one that went beyond the outrageous interest rates and failure to disclose fees. It all started with a site that promised to match borrowers with payday lenders.

Slip slidin' away with insurance unfair trade practices p2

We often talk about insurance being a highly regulated industry, but we wonder if we have explained just how far those regulations go. The state must approve rates and forms, for example, but the state also lays out rules for how agencies, brokers and insurers deal with their customers.

Slip slidin' away with insurance unfair trade practices

When it comes to unfair trade practices in the insurance industry, we don't need the statute to figure a few of them out. Misrepresenting benefits, overcharging for coverage and underpaying claims -- better known as lying, cheating and stealing -- are universally acknowledged to be unfair trade practices. Yes, brokers and agents may try to justify the half-truth, and insurance companies may engage in advertising puffery, but, really, the lines are clearly drawn for those three misdeeds.

Florida's sinkholes aren't better, they're just different

We are continuing our discussion of sinkholes and the difference between New Jersey and Florida. New Jersey has, as we said, had a rash of sinkholes appear; one swallowed a snow plow. Florida, of course, has its own Sinkhole Alley -- Pasco, Hillsborough and Hernando counties -- and a reputation to maintain.