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. It’s the only podcast devoted exclusively to Florida insurance issues.  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 12 – The Prize in Real Estate

The real estate market and the insurance market are intertwined – in fact, “property” is literally the first word in property & casualty insurance.  Both are highly value-based, as higher property values require higher insurance premiums to provide adequate coverage.  But there’s a bigger picture: the connection between real estate and promoting investment and job creation, where property sales and insurance will then naturally follow.

Host Lisa Miller talks with John Sebree, a Florida real estate leader who is now CEO of the Missouri Realtors®.  While stressing that every state has or should have international business, Sebree shares how Florida’s natural connection to Latin American and Caribbean investors and increasingly the Europeans, are netting benefits for our real estate – and insurance markets.

Episode 11 – Driving Blockchain Home

The emerging distributed ledger software technology Blockchain, being developed for use in financial transactions, has applications in how we manage insurance information, too. It could one day be used to reduce Florida’s nearly 27% rate of uninsured drivers – the highest in the nation – while providing added convenience and money-saving efficiencies to both consumers and insurance companies. Blockchain technology is also touted as an answer to the current climate of data breaches and compromised personal information.

Host Lisa Miller, a former deputy insurance commissioner, talks with the leader of the insurance consortium applying Blockchain and a Florida State Senator who calls it the next wave in the insurance space, especially when it comes to fighting growing insurance fraud. Guests on the podcast are Christopher McDaniel, Executive Director of the RiskBlock Alliance and Senator Jeff Brandes (R-Pinellas County) who discuss what exactly Blockchain is and isn’t, how it’s currently being used, and the rapid growth opportunities this new technology represents.

Episode 10 – Modeling for School Shootings

The aftermath of the Parkland, Florida school shooting and other major casualty events can greatly impact the insurance companies that provide liability policies to schools, hotels, and other venues. While these policies traditionally cover a variety of more ordinary events, some policies never contemplated – and priced the risk for – the increasingly unusual catastrophic events seen over the last few years. Now there are new tools to help insurers and their reinsurers better calculate previously difficult and unmanageable risks, leading to better coverage for these venues and ultimately those they serve.

Host Lisa Miller talks with Robin Wilkinson, Vice President and Managing Director of Casualty Analytics at AIR Worldwide, a Verisk company, about its new scenario-based Casualty Risk Modeling. Ms. Wilkinson explains how the modeling works with mass casualty events, how it’s helping insurers and reinsurers better rate the risk of both sudden and systemic events, and the types of scenarios the model is being applied to currently.

Episode 9 – The AOB Trap

Fort Myers retiree Sandra Carlstrom suffered extensive water damage to her home when Hurricane Irma’s 115 mph winds and flying debris left holes in her roof and outside trim. But a second – and more threatening – round of damage would occur a week later, when she received a glossy flyer in her mailbox from a contractor offering to perform a free roof inspection and repair all the damage. Three months later, no repairs have been made and worse, she’s been threatened with a lawsuit and lien on her house by the contractor – all because of an Assignment of Benefits (AOB) contract she signed with him.

Host Lisa Miller, a former Florida deputy insurance commissioner, talks with Sandra Carlstrom and her daughter Kirsten about how a loose temporary roof tarp unraveled a tale of deception and the utter panic they’ve been in since discovering the $191,000 bill sent to their insurance company for a roof replacement that should only cost $30,000. Despite a growing number of such AOB abuse cases around the state that Miller describes as almost extortion, the Florida legislature continues to be stymied on the eve of its 2018 session in passing meaningful reform to help consumers avoid “The AOB Trap.”

Episode 8 – National Flood Insurance Reform

Congress is pushing into 2018 a decision on how to reform the beleaguered National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) that 1.8 million Floridians depend on for their property flood protection. Congress must reauthorize the program as well, because without it, federally-backed home mortgages which require flood coverage for high-risk zoned properties could come to a standstill. But the taxpayer-subsidized NFIP is $25 billion in debt and still using old flood data and maps, with rates that don’t match risk.  Congress is considering reauthorization under a package of reform bills called the 21st Century Flood Reform Act.

Host Lisa Miller, a former Florida deputy insurance commissioner, explores two of those key reforms on this program: what to do with grandfathered properties that are still enjoying 1960’s-era premiums and riddled with repetitive losses, and how best to encourage private flood insurance market alternatives. It’s estimated that 77% of Florida properties would see lower premiums with private market policies.  Joining Lisa are guests Brian Squire, Managing Executive Senior Vice President at Hays Companies in Destin, Florida and Helen Devlin, Senior Lobbyist with the National Association of Realtors in Washington D.C.  Together, they outline what’s at stake for Florida NFIP policyholders and ideas on how best to balance flood insurance affordability with NFIP sustainability, without hurting Florida’s growing real estate market.

Episode 7 – Irma’s Claims Challenge

Florida homeowners, businesses, and other property owners have been assessing the damage from Hurricane Irma and begun filing claims with their insurance companies. Those claims are expected to number in the hundreds of thousands from the first major hurricane to hit Florida in 12 years.  How are insurance companies responding?  How will they be able to meet the challenges of such an onslaught of claims?

Joining host Lisa Miller from the road are the president of American Integrity Insurance Company in Tampa, Bob Ritchie and professional claims adjuster Jason Evans, CEO of Evans Claims Service, in Huntsville, Texas.  They explain on this podcast how claims are being handled, why Hurricane Irma has stressed the supply of adjusters needed to handle them, and the ability of Florida’s insurance companies to pay claims.  They also share advice with policyholders and other consumers hit by damage and reveal how insurance industry best practices are being put to the ultimate test with Irma.

Episode 6 – Citizens Managed Repair Program

The Florida Office of Insurance Regulation recently approved two first-of-their-kind programs designed to help the state’s property insurer of last resort – Citizens Property Insurance Corporation – control the rapidly rising claims and litigation costs among its current 450,000 policyholders. Citizens will now be able to limit coverage on non-weather water claims to $10,000 unless the policyholder agrees to use Citizens’ approved contractors in its new managed repair program.  The company can also waive deductibles on such claims as a further incentive for its policyholders to use the managed repair program.

Citizens President & CEO Barry Gilway sat down with host and former deputy insurance commissioner Lisa Miller on the eve of last week’s OIR decision to outline the reasoning behind the program and the reforms still needed in Florida’s property and casualty insurance marketplace.  Also joining Lisa on the podcast is Cam Fentriss, Legislative Counsel for the Florida Roofing and Sheet Metal Contractors Association.  She and Gilway found common ground on some key Assignment of Benefit concerns whose costs, Citizens says, is driving its requested statewide average 6.7% homeowners policy hike and an 8.1% commercial lines increase.

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.

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.

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.