As the 2018 Atlantic Hurricane Season nears its end, Florida Insurance Commissioner David Altmaier and Chief Financial Officer (CFO) Jimmy Patronis are reminding consumers that now is not the time to be complacent when protecting yourself from the impacts of flooding. [Read more…] about As Hurricane Season Ends, Efforts to Secure Flood Coverage Should Not
Florida Office of Insurance Regulation
At the direction of Governor Scott, Insurance Commissioner David Altmaier issued an Emergency Order suspending and activating certain insurance rules and statutes for the health, safety, and welfare of Florida’s policyholders. [Read more…] about OIR Issues Emergency Order During Hurricane Michael Recovery
Following Governor Scott’s Executive Order declaring a state of emergency for 26 counties in the Florida Panhandle and Big Bend as the state prepares for Tropical Storm Michael, the Florida Office of Insurance Regulation (OIR) issued the following notice to all health insurers, managed care organizations and other health entities licensed by OIR:
Florida Insurance Commissioner David Altmaier today issued the following statement in response to Chief Financial Officer (CFO) Jimmy Patronis calling for reforms to curb property insurance fraud.
Insurance Commissioner David Altmaier stated: “I applaud CFO Patronis’ initiative in the fight against AOB abuse. Now, more than ever, is the time for a solution to the abuse and fraud that continues to threaten the affordability of insurance in Florida.
“Not only have AOB-related lawsuits skyrocketed, but the claims associated with an AOB are 85 percent more expensive than claims without an AOB. The excessive litigation fueled by bad actors who abuse AOBs will only result in higher premiums for our consumers.
“AOB reform has remained a top priority for my office and we look forward to joining CFO Patronis in our fight to hold consumers harmless.”
For more information about this issue, visit the Office of Insurance Regulation’s (OIR) “Assignment of Benefits Resources” webpage.
Insurance Commissioner David Altmaier is encouraging Floridians who will be recovering from potential flood or wind damages to their homes and businesses from Tropical Storm Gordon to use caution when signing an Assignment of Benefits (AOB). Homeowners may be presented with a document to sign before repair work begins, which could contain what is known as an AOB, that transfers the insurance claims rights or benefits of your insurance policy to a third party.
Homeowners should contact their insurance agent, insurance company or CFO Patronis’ Insurance Consumer Helpline (1-877-693-5236) as soon as possible when making emergency repairs. After assessing the damage, restoration professionals may encourage homeowners to sign an AOB. By doing so, homeowners are giving the vendor the right to exclusively communicate with their insurance company, negotiate and endorse insurance claim payments and potentially file a lawsuit against the insurance company, with or without the homeowner’s knowledge. AOBs have been a cost driver leading to rising homeowners insurance rates across the state due to unnecessary litigation associated with certain AOB claims.
Insurance Commissioner David Altmaier stated, “As Floridians evaluate damages to their homes and property following Tropical Storm Gordon, it is vital they understand exactly what they are signing. AOB abuse has contributed to rising insurance rates and in some cases, unscrupulous contractors have left homeowners with unfinished repairs, liens against their homes and uncovered repair expenses. Homeowners are encouraged to review any documents they are asked to sign and use caution when signing an AOB. Consumers can always file a claim directly with their insurance company to maintain control of the rights and benefits provided by their insurance policy when resolving a claim.”
The following are a few tips to assist homeowners:
- Read your insurance policy and know what your responsibilities are following a loss.
- Contact your insurance company prior to signing any document that may contain an AOB.
- If the homeowner elects to sign the AOB, read everything carefully and do not feel pressured to sign it. Signing an AOB is not your only option.
- Beware of language that allows all proceeds of the claim to be made to anyone other than the homeowner or the homeowner’s mortgage company.
- Do not sign the document if there are any blank spaces.
About the Florida Office of Insurance Regulation
The Florida Office of Insurance Regulation has primary responsibility for regulation, compliance and enforcement of statutes related to the business of insurance and the monitoring of industry markets. For more information about OIR, please visit our website or follow us on Twitter @FLOIR_comm and Facebook.
The Office of Insurance Regulation (OIR) has received the 2019 Florida workers’ compensation rate filing by the National Council on Compensation Insurance (NCCI), which proposes a statewide average premium decrease of 13.4%. The new rates would become effective January 1, 2019. [Read more…] about OIR Receives Annual Workers’ Compensation Rate Filing
As the peak of the 2018 Atlantic Hurricane Season nears and Florida approaches the one-year mark since Hurricane Irma, Florida Insurance Commissioner David Altmaier and Chief Financial Officer (CFO) Jimmy Patronis are reminding consumers to take action now to review their insurance policies and secure flood insurance coverage. Typically, there is a 30-day waiting period before a flood policy takes effect, so it is vital to act before a named storm or significant weather event emerges. [Read more…] about Take Action Now to Review Your Insurance Policy, Secure Flood Insurance Coverage
As the State of Florida continues to brace for significant flooding throughout the week, Florida Insurance Commissioner David Altmaier is encouraging consumers to take action now to secure flood insurance coverage. For a list of flood insurance writers in Florida, visit this link.
Chief Financial Officer Jimmy Patronis said, “It is never too early to prepare for a tropical weather event. With significant rain forecasted and flooding on the horizon, Floridians need to review their current insurance policies and fully understand their coverages and exclusions so they can prepare accordingly. Now is the time to take action.”
Commissioner Altmaier said, “Flooding can happen any time of year, but the chances increase significantly with hurricanes and tropical storms. As we know from last year’s hurricane season, these systems can bring storm surge and increased rainfall amounts to our state. Having flood insurance in place is critical for homeowners and businesses, and helps our state’s response and recovery efforts.”
A basic homeowners’ insurance policy does not provide coverage for flooding. This coverage must be purchased separately through a private insurance company or the federally-administered National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP). Florida’s private flood insurance market is growing and there are now 26 insurers offering primary or excess flood insurance coverage. This coverage is usually offered at prices similar to or lower than those of the NFIP, providing more consumer choice and an alternative to the federal program.
Flood insurance coverage can often be purchased directly from a consumer’s existing insurance agent or company. Typically, there is a 30-day waiting period before an NFIP policy takes effect, so it is vital to act before a named storm or other event emerges. For more information about ways to prepare for hurricane season and resources to a variety of fact sheets and tips, please visit OIR’s Hurricane Season Resources site.
Florida Insurance Commissioner David Altmaier announced today that staff from the Office of Insurance Regulation (OIR) will travel to Puerto Rico to assist those impacted by Hurricane Maria. In partnership with the National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC), an OIR team member will deploy on May 12, 2018 to assist families and individuals with claims and other insurance issues.
Governor Scott said, “Since Hurricane Maria, Florida has provided steadfast support to our neighbors in Puerto Rico and I am proud to continue this aid by sharing an insurance expert from Florida to provide claims assistance to homeowners and business owners as they work to rebuild their lives. I am proud of the work Florida has done to help families from Puerto Rico and we will continue to do all we can to make sure they have the resources needed to get back on their feet.”
CFO Jimmy Patronis said, “Access to insurance help and resources is critical for consumers and businesses in Puerto Rico impacted by Hurricane Maria. As we gear up for the 2018 Hurricane Season, it’s important that we do all we can to provide resources to the people of Puerto Rico to help recover and now prepare ahead of June 1. My office’s bi-lingual insurance experts stand ready to assist with any consumer concerns.”
Florida Insurance Commissioner David Altmaier said, “OIR’s mission is to protect insurance consumers and cultivate a stable insurance marketplace in Florida, and we’ve worked closely with Governor Scott, CFO Patronis, Commissioner Putnam, and Attorney General Bondi to carry out this mission before, during, and after storms. I am proud that our team will now have the opportunity to extend our efforts by providing direct assistance in Puerto Rico.”
Julie McPeak, Tennessee Department of Commerce and Insurance Commissioner and National Association of Insurance Commissioners President, said, “Having OIR staff available to assist with policyholders with claims processing will be an invaluable service, and the NAIC is thrilled to partner with Governor Scott and Commissioner Altmaier on this initiative.”
The National Association of Insurance Commissioners will provide financial support for travel costs associated with the initiative.