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Home Insurance Rates are Rising Despite a Record 6 Hurricane Free Years and Recently Enacted Legislation that was Supposed to Make Insurance More Affordable for Floridians

Landlord-Insurance-Florida.jpgAs we noted in this blog, Governor Rick Scott signed into law a piece of legislation that changes many aspects of property damage claims, and that also makes it easier for insurance companies to raise your property insurance rates in the years to come.

Well, the time has come. Insurance companies are raising your rates.

The rates are going up despite the insurance companies getting their wish list enacted by an insurance friendly Governor to help them make consumer claims more difficult to make, but yet those same insurance companies reap the benefits of higher insurance premiums.

State insurance regulators approved more than two dozen home insurance rate hikes ranging from 6 to 34 percent.

American Integrity Insurance Co. of Florida, which has 102,091 home insurance policies statewide and 13,575 in Broward, Palm Beach and Miami-Dade counties, received 14 percent increases for two types of homeowner insurance policies it offers. Security First Insurance, with 119,205 policies statewide and 21,025 in South Florida, received a 9 percent increase for its homeowners multi-peril policies. And Universal Insurance Co. of North America, which has 81,834 policies statewide and 11,420 in South Florida, received a 12 percent increase for its homeowner property insurance policies.

And then there is Citizens. The sate’s insurer of last resort. State regulators approved an average 6 percent statewide rate hike for Citizens Property Insurance’s homeowners policies – which include coverage for homes, condominiums and renters – and 9 percent for rental and vacation home policies.

Premiums for most parts of South Florida will increase next year by up to 10 percent. Fortunately, this is significantly lower than the proposed 25% rate increase Citizens was hoping to get.

Why Are Insurance Rates Going Up?

Despite a record 6 straight years without a hurricane strike in Florida, and the passing of sweeping insurance reforms, insurance companies are still raising rates at a blistering pace.

Insurance companies are of course companies driven by profit. They also have to manage their books to ensure that enough money is in reserve in the event a major hurricane does strike Florida.

However, regulators and consumer advocates have said that Florida insurers could bolster their claims-paying reserves during hurricane-free years if they spent less of the premiums they collect on contractors, sometimes affiliated companies, to manage daily operations; if they lowered other overhead costs such as advertising; or issued smaller dividends.
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Our Miami insurance dispute lawyers handle insurance claims for homeowners. Our attorneys represented insurance companies before 2006, when we opened a firm dedicated to fighting for the rights of consumers. We understand how insurance companies work. And we have the knowledge and experience necessary to represent homeowners in disputes over an insurance claim.

Will Insurance Companies be Permitted to Use Facebook and Twitter to Raise Your Insurance Rates?

fb.jpgInvestigators for both the police and insurance companies are using Facebook and Twitter to obtain information in the ongoing battle against fraud.

But insurance companies are also apparently trying to use that same information obtained from such popular social media websites such as Facebook and Twitter to calculate insurance premium increases.

In other words, insurance companies are contemplating using social media to assess risk. Simply put, it will allow an insurance company to create a profile of how risky, or unrisky, a particular person or property may be to insure. It will allow an insurance company to collect information at a much more detailed level.

Today, insurance companies are barred from using social media to help set rates. But regulations change, and in the not to distant future it may become common practice for an insurance company to check your facebook site to help set your insurance rates. Indeed, many states used to bar insurance companies from using your credit score to set rates. But today, such practice is common place.

It should be noted that even if a policyholder’s social media profile is private, a court can approve an order allowing access to the profile for a limited time.

So the lesson to be learned here is that if you don’t want an insurance company – or anyone for that matter – to learn something about you, then don’t post it on your social media website. As you can see, insurance companies are trying to find out as much information as possible about you in order to assess its risk exposure.
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Consider Your Options. Contact Us Today.

If you are facing a dispute over an insurance claim in Florida, contact Alvarez & Barbara, LLP at 305-263-7700 or toll free at 866-518-2913 for a free and confidential consultation to discuss your rights.

Will Your Insurance Company Cover You If You Or Your Property Are Struck By A Satellite From Space?

A0284-Falling-objects_leader.jpgRecently, a NASA satellite broke up and fell to Earth. It ended up landing in a remote location in the South Pacific.

The question many were asking prior to it landing was whether or not one’s home or car would be covered if stricken by the NASA satellite.

The odds of a person getting struck by satellite debris has been calculated by NASA at 1 in 3,200. But the odds of you actually getting hit by a satellite is less than 1 in 10 trillion.

Still, if you are unfortunate enough to be in the satellite’s path, will your insurance cover the damage? If you have home insurance, the answer is likely to be “yes.”

As with every insurance policy, the first thing one must do is to actually read the policy to determine the scope of coverage. In most home owner policies, “falling objects” is a covered peril. Therefore, the falling satellite is likely covered.

On the other hand, your car may or may not be covered. It all depends on whether or not you carry comprehensive coverage.

Comprehensive coverage (sometimes called “comprehensive car insurance” or “other than collision”) typically pays for damages on covered costs that aren’t caused by a collision. For instance, it covers damages stemming from storms and natural disasters like tornadoes, hurricanes, and earthquakes, as well as Vandalism and theft, broken/shattered windows and windshield, animal damage, and falling objects – like a satellite. So if you have purchased comprehensive coverage, and your car is struck by a satellite, then odds are in your favor that you will have coverage for that loss.

Health insurance will also cover you for any injuries you sustained from being hit by a satellite. Should you happen to die after being struck by a satellite, and you have life insurance, then your designated beneficiaries should get paid as well.

Insurance coverage is purchased to cover unexpected expenses associated with rare situations like being struck by a satellite.

But even if you have purchased the correct insurance coverage, it is not uncommon for an insurance company to deny your claim. In such instances, our firm is prepared to assist you with your insurance claim.
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If you are facing a dispute over an insurance claim in Florida, contact Alvarez & Barbara, LLP toll free at 866-518-2913 for a free and confidential consultation to discuss your rights.

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