Homeowners in Florida

Force-Placed Insurance

Friday, October 5, 2012

MIAMI, FLORIDA - Lenders who allow their home insurance to lapse will often get stuck with a bill for much more expensive coverage, courtesy of their mortgage holders.

Called force-placed or lender-placed insurance, these policies protect banks’ interests when borrowers fail to follow through on the standard loan requirement that they maintain continuous coverage on their home.

The use of these policies soared during the recession, as homeowners who fell behind on their mortgages effectively stopped paying their insurance as well, since premiums are typically included in the monthly payment. From 2006 to 2011, direct earned premiums for lender-placed insurance more than tripled, to $3.1 billion from $954 million, according to the Insurance Information Institute. “It’s a privately run, high-risk market of last resort,” said Robert P. Hartwig, the institute’s president.

But state and federal regulators have begun to question whether mortgage servicers have been too quick to slap these high-priced policies into place, possibly because of financial incentives. At hearings held this spring by the New York State Department of Financial Services, a representative for American Home Mortgage Servicing acknowledged that a company affiliate receives 15 percent commissions from QBE First, a major provider of lender-placed insurance, for policies placed on its loans.

Because the premiums for lender-placed policies are 2 to 10 times as expensive as standard homeowner policies, these policies impose a considerable burden on already distressed homeowners, said Alexis, a research and policy analyst for New York’s Neighborhood Economic Development Advocacy Project. In some cases, the cost more or less ensures foreclosure for a household on the brink; it can also hurt a borrower’s chances for a loan modification.

Fannie Mae has adopted new mortgage servicer guidelines aimed at reducing the likelihood that borrowers will get stuck with a high-priced policy unnecessarily. The guidelines require the servicer to keep the borrower’s own homeowner policy in force if at all possible, even if that means advancing money to cover the past-due premium.

The servicer is required to contact the borrower by letter at least twice before putting a lender policy in place. Such disclosures must explain that lender-placed insurance costs more, and that it covers only the structure of a house, not its contents.

Once a lender policy is in place, homeowners can still buy their own insurance and ask to have the lender policy canceled. Fannie Mae wants servicers to refund the premiums on canceled policies within 15 days of receiving evidence of other coverage.

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau proposed similar guidelines, as part of the mortgage servicer rules it is writing to implement the Dodd-Frank Act.

“The new rules would require the servicer to continue advancing the money to keep the homeowner’s policy in effect rather than letting it lapse, so the forced-place insurance would never even come up,” said Andrew Pizor, a staff attorney at the National Consumer Law Center.

Consumer advocates like Mr. Pizor are concerned that, under the bureau’s proposal, the requirement does not apply if a borrower doesn’t have an escrow account. The bureau is accepting public comment on the rules through Oct. 9; comments may be registered on its Web site.

Mr. Hartwig of the insurance institute defends the rates as a reflection of the risk of insuring the homes on a lender’s books in bulk, “sight unseen, irrespective of their condition.”

But Birny Birnbaum, a former insurance regulator and the executive director of the Center for Economic Justice in Texas, says losses on lender-placed policies amount to less than on standard policies. “The responsibility comes down to regulators to do their job and say rates need to be reasonable and not excessive,” he said.

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Home Warranty Policy

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Your home insurance policy covers you for water damage or if a fire burns down your house, but for rare occurrences like an electrical problem or a broken appliance, you will have to pay for that out of your own pocket.  Does that seem fair to you?

Many homeowners purchase a home warranty policy to cover them for the little items that break down in your house.  I know last year my air handler on the AC unit went haywire.  I didn’t have a home warranty policy and paid nearly $500 out of my pocket for this repair.   It probably would have been a smart idea to purchase this low cost insurance plan, which might have had a premium of about $200 per year.  This type of policy covers you for items like AC unites, home electrical, and hot water heaters. 

 “It simplifies the cash management and process of getting them fixed,” says Thomas Rusin, chief executive officer at Home Serve, a home emergency insurance provider. “When you walk into the kitchen and there’s water running out of the sink most people think ‘I don’t have the time for this and how much is it going to cost?’ For around $100 we take care of all that.”

Next time something breaks down in your house you should contemplate purchasing a home warranty policy through a company like Home Serve.  Most homeowners don’t understand that they are responsible for taking care of the outside line that connects many of the utilities from the street to their home.  When something like a big pipe running through your yard bursts, you are for sure looking at thousands of out-of-pocket expenses.  You should inquire about this added coverage for your home.  It is worth the money. 

Let us know what you think.  Have you ever purchased a home warranty policy?  If so, lets us know how it paid when push came to shove. 

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Citizens Rates on the Rise

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

ORLANDO, FL – It looks like Citizens Property Insurance Corporation is looking to get some help from local Florida based carriers.  Insurance regulators in Florida approved a 10.8 percent increase in premiums this week.  We are likely to see many policyholders forced out of the Citizens coverage due to such a high rate increase.  Local private insurance companies are sending “takeout” proposals to over 200,000 policy holders statewide.

We now know that most Floridians insured with Citizens will need to pay an additional $250 annually when the next renewal rolls around.  Depending on the area of the state, you could potentially see even larger rate increases that were approved by the Florida Office of Insurance Regulation. (Floir)

If you live in the Tampa area or anywhere in Pasco or Hernando counties, you will see large increases in sinkhole premiums.  Hillsborough county residents will see the highest sinkhole premium increase and will be close to 50 percent.   The average homeowners insurance policy holder will see anywhere from $100 to $400 more in premiums in these areas for this upcoming year. 

“This is the mentality of Tallahassee — raise rates as high as you can, force people out,” said Sen. Mike Fasano, R-New Port Richey, who has criticized Citizens’ board for unilaterally overhauling the state’s largest insurer. ”Citizens should not be granted any rate increase because they have already given themselves rate increases through the back door.”

Over the past year, Citizens Property Insurance Corp. has increased premiums, reduced various coverage’s, and took away man discounts to Florida policyholders.  They are the state’s insurance company and are doing the best they can to keep premiums in check, but the Sunshine State is very difficult to insure homes with affordable premiums.  They believe their rates are below market value and if that next big storm hits, taxpayers will need to go back to the bank. 

What do Floridians think?  Does Citizens offer homeowners fair rates?

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Property Insurance Rates Leveling Out in 2012

Monday, October 1, 2012

Property insurance rates in the United States are leveling out in 2012, according to a recent study completed by Marsh. (A large property insurance broker)

Even though we didn't see any large natural catastrophes during the start of the year, rates are still slightly increasing due to many factors in a variety of geographic areas.  Rates are seen to be leveling out in 2012 because the increases have been minimal this year.

It looks like one of the reasons why the property insurance rates are still going up in small increments was due to the insured losses that were offered in 2011.  This was according to Marsh's "Global Insurance Market Quarterly Briefing:  First Quarter 2012."

Many of these losses are showing up in risk areas like business interruption, where insurance companies are being very cautious in how they underwrite each individual property case, thus taking on less risk. 

Additionally, many changes offered in 2011 risk models used by insurance companies will probably slow down premium increases in the upcoming months. 

Premiums in the United States for catastrophic-exposed risks increased between 5 and 25 percent, while most of the property insured in non-catastrophic areas only went up 5 to 10 percent. 

“The global commercial property insurance market is continuing to show signs of upwards rate trends, especially for catastrophe-exposed risks,” said Dean Klisura, U.S. Risk Practices Leader, Marsh.

Marsh deals with a variety of insured properties throughout the United States.  Do you fill this report is accurate for your situation.  How much were your home insurance premiums increased this year at time of renewal?  We would like consumers to give us an idea in how they feel about increases of insurance premiums.  Let us know how feel today, comment below. 

 

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Find a Better Deal on Insurance

Sunday, September 30, 2012

Occasionally our agency receives emails with the frustration of increasing homeowners insurance rates. 

For example;

Dear PremierHomeownersInsurance.com,

My home insurance policy is up for renewal in a month and my current agent doesn’t represent my current insurer anymore.   We are in the process of shopping around for a cheaper rate that will offer similar coverage to what we have in place.  Will I be-able to find a better rate for my house?  What can your firm do for me?  Many of the other local agents I have called said they can’t help me because many of the zip codes are closed in Florida due to Hurricane season.  Is this true?

Sincerely,

Cindy

Dear Cindy,

It is a fact that many of the Florida homeowners insurance carriers close certain zip codes during the Hurricane season because they do not want to take the chance of serious losses from a large storm.   We know many insurance companies are being highly selective in the amount of risk they are willing to take in certain areas of Florida.  With the carriers slowing down in the process of writing new business, claims on the rise, rates on homeowners insurance tend to increase every year. 

I’d suggest you let one of our experienced consultants at PremierHomeownersInsurance.com help you minimize your future out-of-pocket costs at claim by shopping all of the top rated carriers in the state.  We will not just find you a better rate, but also offer expertise in a variety of coverage’s.  Having a quality agent with experience can truly help you through this process of getting the coverage you need. 

We will be-able to find you a better rate with more coverage, comparison shop all of the carriers in Florida and even get multiple options for you during Hurricane season.  It doesn’t cost you any money to work with an experienced agent like us.  Give us a call today at 1-800-554-9142 to and get started in our easy process to getting quality coverage today!

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State Farm approved to raise Florida home insurance rates 6 percent

Friday, September 28, 2012

Ponte Vedra Beach, Florida – State Farm Florida Company is the third largest insurer of houses in the state.  It looks like their rates are going up again!  On average, State Farm rates in Florida will go up by  6 percent this year.  If you have a home insurance policy with State Farm, it might be time to start shopping again to find a better rate.  If you want to compare all of the top rated carriers in Florida, give us a call today at 1-800-554-9142 and we will make it easy for you to find a policy that saves you money.

State Farm has been increasing their rates steadily in Florida since 2009.  This is the fifth rate increase that was approved by the state in the last three years.  In many instances, State Farm clients will also have to review higher deductibles for their Florida home insurance policy.  It looks like some of the out-of-pocket expenses for claims will be rising from $500 to a minimum of $1000 on the majority of homes insured by State Farm.   This increase was recently approved and posted by the Florida Office of Insurance Regulation.

We all have been following Citizens Property Insurance their proposed rate increase of 10 percent.  Citizens, the largest insurance company of homes in Florida, are looking for creative ways to make the Florida marketplace better.  We will see what the state and Citizens comes up with in the near future for FL homeowners. 

State Farm initially asked for even higher rates in Florida, asking for a 15 percent increase in premiums on average.  Have you received your letter of increase from State Farm yet?  If not, I’m sure it will be on the way very soon.

Florida homeowners insurance rates have been skyrocketing over the past several years.  Many of the reasons include, inflation on the costs to rebuild houses, increases in re-insurance premiums and a “hurricane history that has proven this to be a very unprofitable market for property insurance, “ said Lynn McChristian, the Institute’s Florida representative.

It doesn’t matter whether you have State Farm, Citizens, or any other carrier in Florida.  We can help you save time and money when it comes to insurance.  Give us a call today for a FREE policy analysis, 1-800-554-9142.

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Contentment with Home Insurers

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Tampa Florida - The numbers are in and overall contentment with home insurance companies are the highest they have been in years.  J.D. Power and Associates reports that due to the exercise of bundling multiple insurance polices like your home and auto insurance, consumers are happier than they have ever been.  Saving time and money is always going to make a consumer happy, wouldn't you say?

J.D. used a 1,000 point scale to discover customer satisfaction.  The overall averages for this year over close to 800, so nearly 80% of all home insurance consumers are happy with their coverages.  This number has risen over 15 percentage points from the previous year according to J.D.  Power. 

Furthermore, the contentment goes up close to 20 percentage points with the consumers who bundle multiple polices like their home and auto with the same insurance company.  This information was based on a National Homeowners Insurance Study conducted by the larger research firm. 

“The increase in satisfaction with policy offerings is directly related to customer perceptions that insurers are doing a better job in offering the right coverage options at competitive prices when policies are bundled,” said Jeremy Bowler, senior director of the insurance practice at J.D. Power and Associates. “Bundled policies not only may provide a reduced premium for customers, but may also be advantageous to both parties, as it allows customers to interact with a single insurer, potentially streamlining both billing and payment.”

We all know that auto is the most bundled type of policy with homeowners insurance and the study did find a direct relationship between bundling and customer contentment.  Contentment among consumers that insure only their home with their homeowners insurer is near the low 700's within the 1,000 point scale. Nevertheless, when an additional product is bundled (typically the auto policy), satisfaction increases to nearly the mark of 800.  When four or more products are bundled with the insurance company, contentment grows to nearly 900.

With all of that being said, J.D. Power and Associates makes a great point with this survey.  In most markets you are able to bundle multiple policies from the same insurance company, which helps you save time and money.  The issue with this survey is that it doesn't reflect all markets in the Untied States.  Take for instance, the Tampa, Florida marketplace, where the majority of homeowners buy their auto and home insurance from separate companies because the big franchise carriers like State Farm and Allstate do not offer home insurance policies in this state because of the risk.  What do you think?  Does this accurately reflect your marketplace?  I know it doesn't in Florida.  Give us your thoughts today!

 

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Home Insurance Premiums On The Rise

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Jacksonville, Florida - Increasing home insurance claims are on the rise due to the simple fact that more people are making claims.  Home insurance claim frequency is through the roof over the past 24 months. 

A new study was conducted by the IRC (Insurance Research Council).  They found that the average claim payment per person in the United States rose above 170% from 1997 to 2011.  The actual costs per insured house increased to nearly 30% in that same time period respectively.

The study concluded that during this period of time the annulated rate of increase was over 7%.

From the study, “Trends in Homeowners Insurance Claims,” the Insurance Research Council reviewed and separated regular claims from catastrophic claims.  These average paid claims for both types had many similarities.  They showed around $8,000 for non-catastrophic claims and $7,500 for catastrophic claims.

Homeowners insurance premiums are on the rise every year.  This is due to many factors that surround certain geographic areas.  We would like to ask you, have your home insurance premiums increased significantly over this same period of time?  What do you think we can do to slow down the rise in house insurance premiums in America?

Read More Here: 

http://www.insurancejournal.com/news/national/2012/09/26/264398.htm

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FL Regulators Holding Hearing On Home Rates

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Orlando, Florida - There are many Florida citizens that are coming together in opposition of the most recent proposed rate increases offered by Florida's biggest homeowners insurance company. A public hearing was held in Miami, Fl by regulators trying to appease lawmakers and consumers of the Sunshine state. 

A New Port Richey, Florida Republican, Senator Mike Fasano, critiqued Citizens Property Insurance Corp for the recent increase in premiums.  He believes that Citizens raised premiums without going through the proper rate approval process.  Additionally, he cited the re-inspection program that has revoked discounts to many Floridians for strengthening their houses against natural disaster. 

Senator Fasano also complained about the out of line spending that Citizens officials were engaged in, including, expensive trips, hotel rooms and meals. 

"Citizens has filed a premium rate increase that, given they myriad negative circumstances surrounding this insurance company, is not warranted and, frankly, is the epitome of arrogance," Fasano said.

The CEO of Citizens, Barry Gilway, said that company officials always follow state law when they propose increases.  They are just trying to put the company on track to make sure they have enough money to pay for future disastrous claims. 

"We're not the enemy, "Gilway said.  "We're hired by and work for taxpayers and it's our obligation to do our very, very best to keep rates as affordable as possible."

We at PremierHomeownersInsurance.com would like to get any feedback available Floridians.  Please give us your thoughts on Citizens and how we can improve the homeowners insurance policies offered in our beautiful state.  Comment here today!

 

 

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Florida Wind Policy

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Do you have a wind policy provision on your Florida Homeowners Insurance Policy? Make sure you take your time to find the best wind policy for your home. You need great financial protection for the various natural disasters that occur in Florida on a regular basis. Is your home located on the coast? If so, hailstorms and hurricanes will probably pop up every year. Make sure you have enough coverage to replace your damages from a strong wind storm with a quality Florida wind policy.

DO I NEED A FLORIDA WIND POLICY?

A wind policy covers your home in the event damages are caused due to storms like tornados and hurricanes. Big natural disasters happen and you as a homeowners can’t afford to not have proper coverage. The most common type of damage from a Florida hurricane is replacing the roof of your home. Unless you want to shell out 25k for a new one, just get a policy to cover it.

Get more detailed information in our glossary of homeowners insurance terms today. We have a wealth of information posted regarding why you need a wind policy in Florida. If you would like to get quotes for a new wind policy, please complete our easy to use quick quote form here.

 

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