THE FLORIDA INSURANCE ROUNDUP PODCAST

The Florida Insurance Roundup from Lisa Miller & Associates, is your program on the people, issues, and regulations shaping Florida’s Insurance Market. Lisa, a former deputy insurance commissioner, brings you the latest developments in Property & Casualty, Healthcare, Workers’ Compensation, and Surplus Lines insurance from around the Sunshine State. There is a Listener Call-In Line for your recorded questions and comments to air in future episodes at 850-388-8002 or you may send email to LisaMiller@LisaMillerAssociates.com

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Episode 5 Part Two – Growing Florida’s Private Flood Market

Aided by new state legislation this year designed to encourage a robust private flood insurance market in Florida, the number of companies writing flood policies has nearly doubled in the last year, while Congress works this summer to reform the federal government’s beleaguered National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP). Meanwhile, new technology is making structures more resilient than ever to floodwaters, allowing those insurers to more accurately price risk and compete with the NFIP.

Mike Graham of Smart Vent Products has been working with modeling firms that are part of the new technology and shares with Lisa in this program how flood vents, dry proofing, and other mitigation options are lowering flood risks and with them,  policy premiums by up to 80%.  Just as wind mitigation years ago helped lower homeowners and wind insurance rates, today’s flood mitigation techniques can lower private flood insurance rates, making flood coverage more affordable – and available – for everyone.

Show Notes

Actuarial experts, disaster modelers, and third-party vendors are utilizing new technology to better predict and price flood risk.  Models are important because the NFIP and parent FEMA don’t use models – they use only maps.  But models help differentiate the flood risk between a property owner in Zone X with mitigation vs. another person in Zone X without mitigation – with premiums priced accordingly by the growing number of private flood insurers entering the marketplace.

Mike Graham of Smart Vent Products shares his experience on some of the newest mitigation technologies and practices, including vents that allow flood waters to wash into – and back out of – structures, minimizing damage.  A study of a two-square mile area in New Jersey that suffered $1.2 million in flood claims losses showed through modeling how pre-mitigation would have eliminated the structural damage and reduced the entire area’s flood height by one inch, which while it doesn’t sound like much, equates to a $20,000 cost avoidance per claim according to FEMA.  Mitigation measures also help eliminate the need for retention ponds.  FEMA estimates that for every $1 spent on pre-event mitigation, $4 is saved in insurance claims.

Links and Resources Mentioned in This Episode

** The Listener Call-In Line for your recorded questions and comments to air in future episodes is 850-388-8002 or you may send email to LisaMiller@LisaMillerAssociates.com**

Episode 5 Part One – Growing Florida’s Private Flood Market

Just in time for the start of hurricane season, the Florida Legislature has made it even easier for private insurance companies to write flood coverage in the Sunshine State.  The private market is seen as a much-needed alternative to the debt-ridden, increasingly expensive, federal government’s National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP).   Even more so for Florida consumers, who are largely subsidizing the program, receiving just $1 in claims benefits for every $4 paid in premiums.

Host Lisa Miller, a former Florida deputy insurance commissioner, breaks down how private carriers are being encouraged and we hear state Senator Jeff Brandes’ ideas on how Florida’s private market can work hand-in-hand with the NFIP.  With less than 90 days remaining until the beleaguered NFIP expires, the U.S. House is making progress toward a series of reforms designed to tackle the programs $24.6 billion in debt and improve access and affordability for homeowners.  One fix would expand mandatory flood insurance to most U.S. homeowners – just like the Affordable Care Act on the health insurance side – to subsidize the NFIP going forward.

Links and Resources Mentioned in This Episode:

The Listener Call-In Line for your recorded questions and comments to air in future episodes is 850-388-8002 or you may send email to LisaMiller@LisaMillerAssociates.com

Episode 4 – Legislative Session Roundup

The Florida Legislature ended its 2017 session this week three days late – and without passing most of the major insurance-related bills.  These include Assignment of Benefits reform, Workers’ Compensation reform as mandated by the state Supreme Court, and No-Fault Personal Injury Protection automobile insurance reform.  What went wrong?  Host Lisa Miller, a former Florida deputy insurance commissioner, takes the guest microphone in this program to explain what happened, share the backstory on some of the negotiations, and offer her insight on what’s needed to make these policy reforms a reality in next year’s legislative session.

Links and Resources Mentioned in This Episode:

Episode 3 – Bad Faith

The Florida Legislature is once again trying to decide what to do with the state’s 45 year-old No-Fault Automobile Insurance coverage law – more specifically, how to handle the persistent fraud that keeps increasing and with it, automobile insurance rates.  But one component that’s rarely talked about is the Bad Faith doctrine – and the third-party vendors some say who are manipulating it to win bigger legal settlements from insurance companies.

David Bronstein and J.D. Underwood – two noted South Florida insurance attorneys on opposite sides of the issue – argue the merits of Bad Faith as it relates to consumer rights and insurance company profits.  They reveal in this program how just the threat of a Bad Faith case and its related costs are driving up premiums for all Florida insurance consumers.  They share their insider perspective on how those looking to make a bigger buck rather than a reasonable claims settlement are hurting the availability and affordability of automobile, as well as homeowners insurance in Florida.

As the legislature considers bills replacing No-Fault PIP (Personal Injury Protection) insurance with mandatory Bodily Injury insurance (BI) – where Bad Faith claims are more prevalent than PIP claims and can result in large verdicts beyond the policy coverage limits –  insurance companies want added provisions to require mandatory civil remedy notice by third-party claimants to level the playing field.

David Bronstein

David Bronstein of Bronstein & Carmona

J. D. Underwood

J.D. Underwood of Florida Advocates

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Links and Resources Mentioned in this Episode

Episode 2 – The Abusive Roofer

They come to your house peddling offers of a free roof, courtesy of your insurance company.  Regardless of whether you’ve suffered serious enough storm damage to warrant a total roof replacement, these scam artists have you sign an “AOB”– an Assignment of Benefits – that takes away your rights and benefits of insurance claims proceeds and puts it into their pockets.  That’s what happened to Kellie Clark, a ninth-grade math teacher in Pinellas County, Florida.  Ms. Clark shares her story of being misled into signing an AOB and then becoming the target of bullying and harassment – including threats of foreclosure action – when she refused to sign over the insurance check.   It’s a growing problem in Florida that has caused double-digit rate increases and whose solution is still eluding the Florida Legislature.

Kellie Clark

Links and Resources Mentioned in This Episode

Kellie Clark Timeline of AOB with Simbro Group

Simbro Group Letter of AOB

 

 

 

 

Episode 1 – Beating Back Flood Rates

Although Florida accounts for nearly 40% of the National Flood Insurance Program policies, it remains a huge donor state to this federal monopoly, with property owners here paying $4 in premiums for every $1 in claims received. Maria Wells, President of Florida Realtors, has been a driving force behind efforts to encourage a private flood market in the Sunshine State. Ms. Wells shares her advocacy efforts in this podcast and how reauthorization of NFIP this year in Congress is being linked to further incentives to create a robust private market alternative that will benefit property owners and taxpayers alike.