Florida and Alabama government officials have filed an amicus brief this week supporting the Mississippi insurance department’s lawsuit against the federal government’s National Flood Insurance Program’s rate hike.
“We are supporting Mississippi in their lawsuit against FEMA because the NFIP rate hike will not only hurt Florida families but will devastate our real estate market,” said Florida Gov. Rick Scott who had announced in October his plan to file the legal brief.
The legal brief, filed on Nov. 11, was endorsed by Florida Gov. Scott, Florida’s Attorney General Pamela Jo Bondi, Alabama Gov. Robert Bentley and Alabama’s Attorney General Luther Strange.
It states that Florida’s citizens are particularly vulnerable to the “harsh effects of FEMA’s arbitrary implementation” of Biggert-Waters Flood Insurance Reform and Modernization Act, in light of the large number of Florida properties insured by the NFIP.
“Already, the premium quotes received by Florida policyholders are so high that many homes have become unaffordable, leaving homeowners to choose between foreclosure and sale to escape the crushing financial burden imposed by the NFIP rate increases,” the brief stated.
In many instances, however, sale is not a viable option because the new exorbitant premiums render the properties unaffordable to potential buyers, the brief stated. “This cycle has already begun to have a deleterious effect on the real estate markets and economy of the State of Florida.” Read more in the "Insurance Journal"
Florida is ending this year’s storm season with some good news.
The state-created fund that backs up private insurers in Florida remains in the best financial shape it has been since it was created 20 years ago.New estimates drawn by financial consultants and Wall Street firms suggest the fund can borrow enough money to cover its obligations for the hurricane season that ends next month. Insurers are required to purchase coverage from the fund.
Jack Nicholson, executive director of the Florida Hurricane Catastrophe Fund, said the fund remains strong since it has nearly $10 billion available in cash after years of no storms hitting the Sunshine State. “We’re in as strong as a position as we have ever been in,” Nicholson said. Read more in the "Insurance Journal"
When Colin and Joyce Elston bought their Florida dream home in May, they were confident they could afford the three-bedroom, two-bathroom ranch with a pool and a backyard overlooking the Intracoastal Waterway.
Now they are not so sure.
The retirees said they had enough in savings and investments to pay the mortgage and the $1,482 yearly flood insurance on the home, which sits on palm tree-lined Paradise Boulevard on Treasure Island, a barrier island in the Gulf of Mexico.
But within two months of moving in, they received a stunning surprise: Due to a recently passed federal law, their flood insurance was slated to jump from less than $1,500 to $12,000 a year.
The rate hikes, which go into effect on Oct. 1, are due to the Biggert-Waters Flood Insurance Reform Act of 2012. The measure was passed to keep the National Flood Insurance Program solvent after an onslaught of claims from Hurricane Katrina in 2005. Essentially, what it does is remove federal subsidies from properties in flood zones. Read more in the "Insurance Journal"J.W. Edens and Co. flood insurance quote for Brevard, Volusia and Orange County Florida.
More than 268,000 property owners in Florida -- including 71,747 in South Florida -- face potential rate increases of hundreds or even thousands of dollars a year for flood-insurance premiums, mostly for low-lying homes and businesses along the waterfront.
Those with second homes in the lower parts of a flood zone or who live in frequently flooded places have been hit since January with premium increases of 25 percent a year. Starting in October, thousands more who have gotten relatively cheap premiums for years under the National Flood Insurance Program will face the same rate increases.And premiums will continue to rise by 25 percent every year until they reach a point considered actuarialy appropriate for the risk of floods in a state frequently battered by hurricanes, tropical storms and torrential rains.
"Agents are bringing in examples of properties on the coast that have been insured for $3,000, but the real at-risk rate is $12,000. And that's just for the foundation," said Jeff Grady, president of the Florida Association of Insurance Agents. "They say, `This can't be right, can it?' Well, afraid it is."
Critics warn that the changes — which stem from a law passed by Congress last year with strong bipartisan support — may be enough to drive some people out of their homes and discourage real-estate sales.
But while some homeowners or buyers face a bigger bill for waterfront property, some people who live in relatively high and dry areas at the edges of flood plains will get lower rates for flood insurance. The reason: periodic updates of federal flood plain maps will show they live in low-risk areas. Read more in the Sun SentnelJ.W. Edens and Co. flood insurance quote for Brevard, Volusia and Orange County Florida.
The Atlantic hurricane season is about to enter its most active phase as conditions for the powerful storms improve across the basin.
Wind shear that can tear budding storms apart has been decreasing, said Dan Kottlowski, an expert senior meteorologist at AccuWeather Inc. in State College, Pennsylvania. At the same time, the potential for more robust tropical waves, the seeds for hurricanes, is increasing.
The U.S. National Hurricane Center is currently tracking such a wave just off the coast of Africa. It has a 20 percent chance of becoming a tropical system in the next five days.
“There are six or seven blobs of thunderstorms marching across Africa right now, some of these will be tropical waves,” Kottlowski said by telephone. “Next week looks very promising for development over the eastern Atlantic.”
The Atlantic season begins on June 1 and the most active portion falls between Aug. 20 and October. Sept. 10 is the statistical peak of the period, according to the center in Miami. Read more in the "Insurance Journal"
You deserve and demand fast service and you want to get the best rate possible. With J.W. Edens Insurance in Brevard County you get real-time quotes back from major carriers in minutes. One time entering the data and you can receive an Auto Insurance Quote right here, right now. CHECK IT OUT right here!
Florida recently joined a growing list of states that allow electronic proof of insurance via smartphones for motorists at traffic stops. Among Southeastern states, Mississippi, Alabama, Georgia, Tennessee and Kentucky now also allow electronic proof of insurance.
Nationally, there are now 25 states that allow electronic proof of coverage at traffic stops, as of June 17, according to a new map prepared by the Property Casualty Insurers Association of America. These states allow drivers to show proof of insurance using a smartphone.
The states that now allow electronic proof of coverage are: Alaska, Alabama, Arizona, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Minnesota, Mississippi, North Dakota, Oregon, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Virginia, Washington and Wyoming. Read more in the "Insurance Journal"
All Atlantic and Gulf of Mexico coastal areas are subject to hurricanes. Parts of the Southwest United States and the Pacific Coast also experience heavy rains and floods each year from hurricanes spawned off Mexico. The Atlantic hurricane season lasts from June to November, with the peak season from mid-August to late October. The Eastern Pacific hurricane season begins May 15 and ends November 30.
Hurricanes can cause catastrophic damage to coastlines and several hundred miles inland. Hurricane can produce winds exceeding 155 miles per hour as well as tornadoes
and mircrobursts. Additionally, hurricanes can create storm surges along the coast and cause extensive damage from heavy rainfall. Floods
and flying debris from the excessive winds are often the deadly and destructive results of these weather events. Slow moving hurricanes traveling into mountainous regions tend to produce especially heavy rain. Excessive rain can trigger landslides or mud slides
. Flash flooding can occur due to intense rainfall. read more.....
Florida is heading into a new storm season with some good news for once.
The state-created fund that backs up private insurers in Florida is in the best financial shape it has been in years — maybe the best since it was created in 1993.And new estimates drawn by financial consultants and Wall Street firms suggest that the fund should be able to borrow enough money to cover its obligations for the coming hurricane season, which starts June 1.
“We’re as healthy as we have ever been,” said Jack Nicholson, executive director of the Florida Hurricane Catastrophe Fund.The situation still isn’t perfect: One big storm could wipe out the fund and leave it short of money the next year. That could prompt insurers to stop writing policies and damage the state’s economy. Read more in the "Insurance Journal"
Florida lawmakers have taken the first step towards reforming the state-backed property insurer, but not before significantly scaling back its impact on policyholders while the chances for final legislative approval remain uncertain.
Senate lawmakers have been working for months on a comprehensive reform package with the goal of depopulating the 1.2 million-member Citizens Property Insurance Corp. by increasing rates and finding ways to incentivize homeowners to seek coverage in the private market.Initially, the bill (SB1770) would have changed Citizens rating methodology so that its rates would become actuarially sound so that it would no longer compete with the private market. Among other things, new policies no longer would have fallen under the so-called “glide path,” which restricts rate increases to 10 annually. Read more in the "Insurance Journal"