Florida homeowners insurance

Citizens to reinstate sinkhole coverage for some Florida homes

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

The largest home insurance carrier doing business in the state, Florida Citizens Property Insurance Corp., is looking reinstate sinkhole coverage for homeowners.  Most sinkhole coverages were dropped due to state legislation over the past couple of years.  Did your sinkhole coverage get dropped this past year?

Citizens board of directors has approved the changes that would let there be coverage for a variety of risks.  Some of these acceptable risks would include coverage sinkholes for new house contraction.  If you have either a mobile home or are building a new house, you might be-able to obtain sinkhole coverage.   Do you know if your policy currently covers sinkholes?  

A few years back, the legislature in Florida approved a new law called SB 408.  This was a bill that aimed to reduce exposure for the largest insurer in the state, Citizens, but left many homeowners uneasy, as they didn't have full coverage, i.e. sinkholes.  Citizens is the last resort for most homeowners in the state, but they are a necessity, with many of the private insurance companies only wanting to insure quality risks.  

These new changes will still have to be approved by FLOIR.  It will be interesting to see what they have to say on the subject of sinkholes.  What are your thoughts? Are they a major problem in Florida?

by Morgan Moran

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Florida Home Insurance Premiums Exceed Mortgages

Monday, April 1, 2013

Typically, the most expensive portion of owning your own home would be the cost of your mortgage.  Mortgages in Florida put a great deal of financial burden on families whether they live in Miami, Tampa, or Jacksonville Fl.  With homeowners insurance rates rising rapidly in the Sunshine state many homeowners are trying to figure out ways to reduce premiums.  Some are now stating that they pay more for insurance than they pay for a monthly mortgage.  That seems pretty crazy, doesn't it?  A non-profit organization that recently completed a study suggested that consumers are paying more for their home, auto, life, and health insurance than their re for the mortgage on their homes.  In many cases, the insurance costs were higher than $16,000 per year.  What are your thoughts on insurance in Florida, is it to expensive?  Let us know what you think at Premier Homeowners Insurance by commenting on our blog below.

by  Morgan Moran

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Universal Insurance Holdings Turns a Profit

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

 

Do you have your policy with Universal Insurance Holdings?  If not, that is o.k., but many Floridians turn to the largest private home insurance company in the state for their insurance needs.   For those policyholders that chose to go with Universal it is probably very nice to see in this tough marketplace that they finally turned in a fourth quarter profit.  Do you as consumers feel more comfortable with your carrier when they turn a profit, or just offer cheap rates? 

Universal is located in the beautiful South Florida city of Fort Lauderdale.  They are a publically traded company that posted a net profit of over $4 million this past quarter.  A much improved carrier for financial performance when compared to the $2 million plus loss in the fourth quarter last year.  They have seen a large increase in direct premiums over this past quarter, which should have their investors very happy.  As Floridian purchasing homeowners insurance, I guess we like to see the carriers we do business with turn a profit, which shows the ability to pay a claim.  How much profit is too much?

President and CEO Sean Downes recently said, “Our full-year 2012 results reflected the successful execution of our business plan leading to better underwriting margins compared to a year ago”.

The increase in profit was likely to do the approval of a 14% increase in premiums earlier this year.  Getting that regulatory approval must have been tough, but they were able to squeak it through. 

If you are looking for a quality company to insure your home, Universal Insurance is top notch.  They have a strong balance sheet with the ability to pay claims.  This is probably the most important issue homeowners in Florida should look into.  It is not always wise to buy just on price.  Get a Universal quote today.  

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Home Insurance Costs Skyrocketing

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

If you are a homeowners in Florida, you must be feeling the pain right now.  Most insurance premiums in the state have doubled over the past decade.  A recent report that was offered by the AP noted that an average Florida homeowners is paying double the amount on premiums.  The doubling in price has occurred over the the last six years.  Does that mean your premiums will go another 30-40% over the next three or four years? I guess only time will tell, but in the meantime, it is best to be a savvy consumer.  Make sure you SHOP your insurance rates every year!

HERE ARE SOME TIPS ON SAVING DOLLARS ON HOME PREMIUMS

  1. Make sure you take off all unnecessary coverage. 
  2. Take a quick look at increasing your deductible.  (This isn't for everyone, but it will reduce your premium)  Make sure that you understand, the higher the deductible, the more risk you are going to take on claim.
  3. Ask your agent for all discounts.  (Especially if you are in Florida, make sure you ask for all home specific discounts)

 

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Rates Rising in the New Year

Friday, December 14, 2012

 

Jacksonville, Florida -- We know that homeowners insurance carriers in Florida are having a tough time keeping rates in check.  We all anticipate a New Year with new home insurance rates.  Most likely this is due to the high amount of natural disasters that have occurred in Florida and around the country. 

Many homeowners in Florida jumped on the band wagon moving to Citizens Property Insurance Company because they were the last carrier standing to offer coverage.  The state of Florida recently approved a 10.8 percent increase in premiums for 2013.   Florida’s Insurance Commissioner called the increases necessary, as we need to move over to “actuarially supported rates.”

State Farm Insurance Company is the third largest home insurance company doing business in Fl.  They were just approved for a 6.9% increase for upcoming renewals.  State Farm still has nearly 1.4 million policies on the books in Florida even though they stopped selling new policies many years ago. 

It looks like you will be shopping for more than Christmas presents this Holiday Season.  A review of your home insurance policy might be on Santa’s list as well. 

Read More Here:  http://www.webwire.com/ViewPressRel.asp?aId=167021

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Gov. Scott announces awareness

Saturday, December 8, 2012

 

Florida’s Governor, Mr. Rick Scott, alongside many other lawmakers in Tallahassee Florida this week, have announced they are going to implement better programs to make sure residents of Florida are better prepared to understand many of the costs linked with homeowners insurance.  They really want to educate the public to understand that Florida might be one large “Sandy” like storm away from a major home insurance catastrophe.

Scott was quoted saying that solid efforts should ensure that Florida home insurance policyholders are better aware that the state is doing everything possible to help strengthen the house market industry in the Sunshine state.

He pointed out that these educational programs will probably cause higher assessments across the spectrum when the state-backed insurers are not really capable of producing and meeting its claims payments requirements in the future.

The survey conducted offered that more than 80 percent of homeowners insurance customers in Florida have no clue that possible assessments are lingering in the near future. 

These consumers don’t completely understand that if the Florida Hurricane Catastrophe Fund and Citizens Property Insurance Corp. find themselves unable with to pay claims after a major storm hits either Florida coast, that it will be the policyholders that are charged large assessments.

We all know the struggles many insurance companies have had over the years in Florida.  There is a great deal of controversy over making the proper changes necessary to Citzens and private insurers.  This all being connected to the ability to offer affordable homeowners insurance to a state where 80 percent or more of the residents live within hurricane prone areas.  What should we do to fix this problem?

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National Catastrophe Insurance Fund for Hurricane Sandy

Friday, November 9, 2012

Ponte Vedra, Florida -- We all know that hurricane Sandy earned the “Superstorm” nickname. The mixture of a hurricane and Nor’easter offered high winds and high water, flooding the majority of New York City, while erasing landmarks from North Carolina to New Jersey.  Typically, Florida is the state that gets hit with these types of storms, was the Northeast ready for a catastrophe of this magnitude?

Coastal cities and towns from West Virginia to Connecticut touched Sandy’s vigorous power, and in the coming weeks and months local residents will likely face another large problem: less accessibility of homeowners’ insurance and much higher premiums. America needs to start looking into offering national catastrophe fund to help relax future blows by spreading larger amounts of risk across all states, allowing for the “pre-funding” of future unknown disaster that reach our shores. 

This is for sure helpful for a state like Florida or other coastal areas, but imagines how such a plan sounds to paying taxes that aren’t affected by hurricanes, like “Sandy”. The real basic truth is that these other states are paying for natural disasters anyway, in the form of the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and state government post-disaster assistance.

Hurricane Sandy is just the most recent example of how hurricanes don’t always pick favorites. The cost of homeowner damage and lost business ranges from, depending on the forecaster, $10 billion to $50 billion, which will make Hurricane Sandy among the top four most expensive natural disasters on record. And who says “the big one” has to be a hurricane? We know that in 2011 alone, wildfires burned nearly 400,000 acres and caused $7 billion in damage in states like Texas, New Mexico, and Arizona. Upper Midwest and Mississippi River flooding combined totaled more than $6billion in damage, and deadly tornadoes ripped through the Midwest and Southeast causing $11 billion paid insurance damage.

What about tsunamis, earthquakes, and drought? No state is immune from natural disasters. If multiple states pooled their catastrophic risk, they would achieve an economy of scale and risk diversity that would effectively lower their cost of reinsurance in a way that states cannot achieve on their own.

In the sunshine state, “Florida”, we struggle tremendously with the availability and affordability of home quality Florida homeowners insurance, something our networks along the Gulf and sea coasts are already beginning to know too well. Pooling state resources under a national catastrophe fund model would, in essence, provide a backstop for all private insurance companies, and might lower rates for all homeowners.   That, in turn, would make the private home insurance marketplace more stable, add competition among insurers for non-catastrophic perils, and help prevent company insolvencies and marketplace disruption in the future.

All mathematicians know that the spreading risk is a proven economic principle that makes insurance more affordable and plentiful. While the definition of what constitutes a natural disaster is somewhat controversial, there is no question that some natural disasters will exceed the financial capacity of state funds. Only a program that is national in scope can generate enough capacity to cover the most costly disasters. A national catastrophe fund is long overdue, and Congress should put it in place.

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3 Reasons Citizens Loan Plan in Florida won't work

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Ponte Vedra Beach, FL -- We have been lucky in Florida lately, NO HURRICANES!  The risk is looking better for insurance companies and they are now lining up to purchase many Floridian homeowners insurance policies.   Applications are being filed as we speak to take over policies.  Will your policy be part of the Citizens take out program?

A new plan has been offered by the executive board of Citizens Property Insurance.  This proposal from the Florida insurance company of last resort might cause issues with the industry and taxpayers.

Last month, men and women on the board voted to award over three hundred million in low-interest loans to help small private insurance companies take on some of the risk.  These incentives needed to be large enough for some of the private sector carriers to get interested.  That’s a bunch of money to hand over to the marketplace that is hurting so vastly.  What do you think?

Here are three reasons why this is bad for the state of Florida and home insurance policy holders:

1. First, the incentives aren’t needed. Private insurance companies already plan to consider adopting in excess of 300,000 policies from Citizens the New Year alone - with no incentives. Consequently, handing out this incentive money, Men and women surplus - funds which will be needed in case your major storm hits - will likely be depleted for a bad one reason. Not to mention the policies and this includes proposed plan tend to be attractive to private insurers without incentives, because these are definitely some of Men and women best policies out of a risk perspective.

2. Second, this plan eliminates a level playing field for insurance carriers coming into the state of FL. The men and women on the board came up with the plan with no input by way of Legislature, that is a, or ratepayers, and plans to push it through no matter what public sentiment, and that is overwhelmingly resistant to the idea.

3. And third, virtually no insurance carrier in line to bring into play the policies continues to be audited in multiple years by regulators. Floridians can offer no assurances that these insurers - several of which have had massive underwriting losses during the last five years - are financially healthy enough to face up to storm losses.

Wouldn’t it be better to have open competition, so the healthiest insurers offering the top rated investor business plans to take advantage of policies?

Laboring under the Citizens Property loan program, private insurers could borrow as high as $50 million for 20 years any kind of low interest rate of 2 percent. In return, Citizens obligates the insurers to take the policies for only 10 years, and enables them to raise rates beyond 10 percent a year, after three years. Additionally, the diet plan fails to add in provisions for what happens in case your insurers encounter financial difficulties that hopefully will prevent them from repaying a loan.

What are your thoughts residing over this program?  Do you think this is good for the state of Florida and our taxpayers?  We would like you to give us your take on these low interest loans to private insurance companies already doing business in the Sunshine state. 

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Why Premium Rates Increase

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Getting an increase in your homeowners insurance rates is no fun.  We know that our clients need options when they receive a renewal with higher premiums.  Everyone knows that it is necessary for insurance companies to increase rates to maintain the ability to pay claims after a large catastrophic event occurs.  Are you looking for alternatives to large rate increases?  Call us at 800-554-9142 !

Insurance carriers that offer home coverage do not like to increases rates either, but it is a necessary evil that they must.  Premiums are affected by a variety of complex dynamics based in different geographic areas.  For example, rates might be going up in Florida due to a high number of sink hole claims, but California’s reason for rate increases might be due to earthquakes. 

Whatever the catastrophic event, hurricane, tornado, or an earthquake, it is great to understand in more detail why and how rates increase.  Check out what Joel Curran, from Tower Hill has to say, he offers the hows and whys of the “premium rate increase”.  See Tower Hill Insurance Company Video below:

 

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Citizens to Private Insurance

Monday, October 8, 2012

Jacksonville, Florida -- Like lots and lots of other South Florida policy holders covered by state-run Citizens Property, I got a letter a while back because of a private insurance carrier informing me make use of them be taking over my policy in 30 days - unless I opt out.  Have other Florida homeowners had this same issue?

Sounds great, I thought, when I received the letter from Tampa-based Homeowners Choice Property & Casualty. Especially after hearing that Citizens ended up being approved for rate hikes averaging above 10 percent next year.

Florida Consumers can't make a confident decision, because these carriers won't answer the actual largest question - about all of the cost of contracts every time they renew next year.

When I called Homeowners Choice, a customer service representative explained my current Citizens policy would remain in force until it lapses next July. She said the business enterprise would mail me a renewal offer in May, but that she couldn't say exactly what the premium might possibly be. Nor could she necessary under some company's current rates to find a policy comparable to my Citizens coverage. And he or she didn't know but if your company has put setting yourself up for a rate increase for next year.

What type system is that? Do you really want to try and find a car or a home with no knowledge of the actual going rate?

My answer: Thanks, but I’ll have to pass on this option.

On Saturday I spoke to company CEO Paresh Patel, asking how consumers should decide with such limited information. He said he understood the concerns, but there is much uncertainty for next year and the carriers aren’t going to try and mislead consumers. The way in which, he was quoted saying, "Our rates are on the same as Citizens." He was quoted saying the company has asked to have an average 6 percent rate increase, but state regulators could require more.

Are you frustrated with the way Citizens conducts business in Florida?  Remember, they are the carrier that is a last resort, and they seem to do the best they can under the circumstances.  If you received this infamous letter from Citizens, comment on our Blog today and let us know how you really feel about this situation.

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