Late last week Wikileaks released over 20,000 emails of members of the Democratic National Committee, yet another example of the growing concern for cyber privacy. In many cases these emails contained the names, addresses phone numbers, social security numbers, credit/debit card info, and passport numbers which is considered personally identifiable information (PII).
Businesses large and small keep the same types of information on file for clients, vendors, and employees. In the event this data is compromised by a computer hacker or rouge employee, the business faces potentially large financial implications due to each states regulated notification requirements, fines and penalties, forensic costs to understand how the breach occurred.
Businesses buy insurance to protect from financial loss due to fire, theft, liability ect... [read more]
Yesterday, Wendy’s came out in the news and stated that their point of sale system had been infiltrated by a hacker who applied Malware and extracted credit and debit card information over a multi-month period from over 1000 of the restaurant chains locations.
This breach is one of a growing trend in cyber theft and cyber breach. Events such as this have a potentially damning effect financially to the organization it occurs to.
Let’s take a closer look at three of the costs Wendy’s will likely incur as a result of this malware hack.
Cost to notify ALL affected consumers... [read more]
Every Saturday morning my wife and I take our now 2 year old son to swim lessons. Twice annually the swim school has "Water Safety" class in which the children and parents get very informative special education on how to prevent drownings. As part of the parent education the instructor made a suggestion about hiring a lifeguard if you ever have pool parties for large groups of children. Being the insurance nerd that I am, I thought was a great idea! After the presentation, an overzealous mom just in front of me eagerly gave her opinion of a locally owned lifeguard business which she had hired earlier that summer. She told the group of roughly 40 parents that, "they should never hire this particular local company (using their name aloud) because they don't watch the pool and they weren't worth the $50 per hour they charged... [read more]
Insuring through "Captive" Agents vs. "Independent" Agents
A consumer can purchase insurance through two channels: 1) a "Captive" agent or 2) and Independent Agent. Captive agents are held "capitve" by their respective insurance company and are ONLY able offer coverage through that particular insurer for most lines of business. A good example of a captive agent is State Farm. State Farm agents only have the abitliy to offer State Farm products for most lines of business... [read more]
Recently, Chris Black Insurance was appointed by Nationwide Insurance to offer their wide range of products to our customers. The partnership means that CBI will now have an even more diverse set of product offerings for our customers. Nationwide specializes in Automobile, Renters, Commercial, Life and Financial Products. Nationwide is one of the only carriers in FL who can offer a business a comprehensive Business Owners Package (BOP) with wind coverage. Nationwide's appetite for BOP's includes: Various styles of Restaurants (Including Franchise operations), Auto Service, Professional Offices, and Veterinarians just to name a few... [read more]
Florida homeowner's insurance carriers are beginning to recognize the dangers posed to consumers with the recent rash of cyber security attacks. Several of our carrier partners have begun offering Identity Recovery coverage that provides restoration case management services from a licensed private investigator and/or case manager with expense reimbursement up of up to $25,000. This coverage protects policyholders from the growing number of data breaches in the U.S. The recent cyber attack on JPMorgan Chase, which compromised the customer information of 76 million households, is just another example of how clever cyber terrorists have become in hacking into America's most secure organizations... [read more]
Late last month the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) via the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) released the newly drawn flood insurance boundary maps for parts of central and eastern Pasco county. If you live in this area you may have a new flood zone that would require you to obtain a flood insurance policy. Pasco county released the new digital flood boundary maps which seems to have an impact on over 12,000 homeowners. It's not all bad news however, some 4000 homeowners will no longer be required to carry flood insurance, but as many as 8600 homes have been changed to an 'A' flood zone. The homes that are switched to an A zone which have a federally backed mortgage loan would now be required by the lender to carry a flood insurance policy... [read more]
We're very pleased to announce that we've opened our third location in New Tampa! Our new office is located within the Keller Williams New Tampa Realty office off of Highwoods Preserve near Bruce B. Downs and I75: 18302 Highwoods Preserve Parkway #110 Tampa, FL 33647. We're excited for the opportunity and look forward building some great new relationships!... [read more]
The Tampa Bay area's choices for flood insurance have recently shrunk. After nearly a year of having a private flood insurance option, the Lloyds of London program that was available to our agency via the Gainesville based MGA, will no longer be offering NEW flood insurance policies in Pinellas, Pasco, Hillsborough, Manatee, or Sarasota counties. The move is a result of two factors 1) Of $250 million worth of exposure throughout Florida, these 5 counties had the highest concentration of risks thus the need to spread that risk throughout the rest of the state and 2) After Congress passed the Homeowner Flood Insurance Affordability Act of 2013 (HFIAA), which nullified many of the provisions of the Biggert Waters Flood Insurance Act of 2012 (BW-12), the demand for the private market flood insurance option was not as great. Had the HFIAA not been passed and BW-12 remained the law, we likely would have seen more private flood market capitalization and the formation of new carriers offering similar products. Until FEMA decides to "stir the pot" again we'll continue issuing National Flood Insurance Program policies in the Tampa Bay area... [read more]
With the 2014 Hurricane season upon us, another FL domestic home insurer 'Bites the Dust'. Sunshine State Insurance Company (SSIC) was a Jacksonville, FL based homeowner's carrier with about 36,000 policies in force throughout the state. Just a few days ago on June 3rd, the Second Judicial Circuit Court in Leon County (Tallahassee) FL ordered them into receivership for purposes of liquidation. Earlier this year in March, the FL Office of Insurance Regulation put Sunshine State on notice that they had to either sell their book of business to another Florida domestic insurer or make a capital infusion to their policyholder surplus (which is a carriers' fund which is designed to pay initial claims prior to reinsurance kicking in) to bring it up to the minimum required $15,000,000 mark. They weren't able to do either and have therefore been forced into receivership status... [read more]
Late last month, President Obama signed the Homeowner Insurance Affordability Act of 2014 (HR3370). This bill modifies and/or repeals many of the provisions that were implemented as a result of the passage of the Bigger-Waters Flood Insurance Act of 2012 (BW-12). The passage of HR3370 comes as a welcomed relief to many realtors in and around our area because BW-12 threatened to severely devalue real estate and ultimately hinder the ability of families to sale their homes. BW-12 contained several unintended consequences for flood policy holders. Pinellas was the #1 most affected county in the United States with over 40,000 structures primed to see a rate increase... [read more]
Surely, any newly expecting family has heard the chatter about how much the little "bundle if joy" is going to change their lives. Then, when the time finally comes the light bulb goes off and they realize exactly what those words meant! This feeling has hit home for me in the last few weeks as my wife Morgan and I welcomed our first child into the world! Suddenly, (well...after nine months of preparation) our lives were turned upside down and the realization set in that we're parents and now responsible for the health and well-being of our little guy... [read more]
Recently, there’s been a lot of publicity surrounding the upcoming changes to FEMA’s National Flood Insurance Program. As you may have read or seen on the news, last year Congress passed the Biggert-Waters Flood Insurance Reform Act (BW-12) with the intention of closing the gap on the massive budget deficit the program has racked up since its inception in 1974. Many of the articles I’ve read and news clips I’ve seen, have been highly polarizing and in my opinion intended to create a “Shock and Awe” appeal to the reader or viewer. Although, the consequences of the bill will certainly have an effect on flood insurance premiums for homeowners and businesses, it may not be the “doomsday” scenario that many reporters have suggested.
In order to understand how the new law will affect policyholders, we should understand a few key things first... [read more]
Recently, the Florida Legislature wrapped up its 2013 session by passing another meaningful insurance bill. Senate Bill 1770 which was sponsored by David Simmons-Naples was signed into law. The Florida Association of Insurance Agents (FAIA) worked closely with lawmakers to make sure the passage of the bill was in the best interest of Florida's financial future as a whole. As with most bills that become law, there were several "Add Ons" or Pork that are of less notable, however, the major component of this legislation is the creation of the "Clearinghouse" for all homeowner's policies that are submitted to Citizen's.
Currently, Citizen's insures over 1... [read more]
If you've recently been watching the local and/ or national news you've likely seen coverage on the "Sinkhole" that opened on Thursday February 28th in Seffner, FL taking the life of a man in his early 30's. The circumstances surrounding the story are extremely sad and we feel terribly for the family who lost their loved one.
Since this occurrence, we've experienced several inquiries from customers wondering what the likelihood of these types of events are and if their homes are covered for such an occurrence. First, these events are categorized as Catastrophic Ground Cover Collapse's (CGCC) because the event met the following four characteristics: 1) Sudden 2) Catastrophic in nature with damage to the dwelling 3) A visible depression (or hole) opened on the property & 4) The home is deemed uninhabitable by a local code enforcement official. All homeowners and dwelling fire policies in the state of FL automatically provide coverage for these types of events so your home is covered for these types of catastrophe's... [read more]
Insurance customers are price sensitive customers, and the struggling economy has made consumers even more price sensitive.
Observers are worried that insurance coverage is becoming so standard that customers do not even keep their needs and their necessary insurance coverage in mind. Instead customers are just picking the cheapest policy or given coverage without regard of brand, the reputation of the company, the insurance coverage and insurance coverage features. Agent are starting to notice that it used to be easier to sell better insurance coverage at a high cost, but because of the down turn in the economy most consumers only care about cost. 25% of independent agents reported that their customer almost always go with the cheapest policy, at least 90% of the time... [read more]
Citizen's Property Insurance Corporation was founded 10 years ago to be Florida's property insurance carrier of last resort. Since that time, many carriers in FL have vacated the marketplace and currently Citizen's is the largest property insurance carrier in the state with over 1.5 Million policies in force and growing at a rate of 1,000 new policies per day. Governor Scott and FL lawmakers have recently made a substantial push to limit the size of Citizen's by reducing coverage's on the policy such as removing screened enclosure coverage, and limiting the dwelling coverage amount to $1M (which is drastic reduction from the previous $2M cap).
Another way for the size of Citizen's to be reduced is by a method known as "Depopulation" in which standard insurance carriers like Florida Peninsula Insurance Company, or Southern Fidelity Insurance Company (just to name two) petition Citizen's to assume some of the policies from the insurer of last resort... [read more]
Currently, Citzen's Property Insurance Corp is FL's largest property insurance carrier with over 1.5 million policies and it continues to grow by about 1,000 policies a day. It's total exposure is estimated at $500 BILLION and as we stand currently, Citizen's only has the capability to pay roughly $16.7 Billion in the event of a major catastrophic storm. In May 2011 Senate Bill 408 was made law which was the most sweeping insurance regulation in FL in over 20 years... [read more]
Today Citizen's announced a major change to it's policy that will take effect January 1, 2012.th Several policy limitations and/or exclusions will be added to renewals after this date. The following are a list of the changes:
+ Screened enclosures that are aluminum framed or not covered by the same or substantially the same materials as that of the primary dwelling
+ Carports that are aluminum or not covered by the same or substantially the same materials as that of the primary dwelling
+ Patios that have a roof covering not constructed of the same or substantially the same materials as that of the primary dwelling
+ Structures with a roof or wall covering that are thatch, lattice, slats or a similar material
+ Slat houses, chickees, tiki huts, gazebos, cabanas, canopies, pergolas or similar structures constructed to be open to the weather
This move by Citizens is an attempt to detract policyholders from maintaining coverage with the carrier, limit Citizen's "Maximum Probable Loss" and hopefully shed some of the policies that Citizen's has recently taken on. Citizen's is currently adding slightly more than 1,000 policies each business day and will continue to grow into an even larger problem if that growth continues. I would expect to see many more changes with the Carrier over the next 12-18 months... [read more]
This week Commissioner McCarthy of the FL Office of Insurance Regulation ruled that the proposed Citizen's rate hike for sinkhole coverage of over 400% was unwarranted and they failed to provide a valid argument of why these rates needed to rise so drastically. Mccarthy pointed out that Citizen's failed to acknowledge how the newly passed legislation pertaining to sinkhole claims would impact the amount of claims that come into the carrier. McCarthy didn't feel the proposed rate increase was valid and he in turned granted an average statewide increase of 32.8%. Residents here in the Pasco county area should see an increase of roughly 10% (of the previously sinkhole premium attributed to the policy)... [read more]
The latest blow in the local "Sinkhole Saga" was delivered on August 4th when Citizen's sent their rate revisions to the Office of Insurance Regulation for review. Within the rate revision, Citizen's asked for a 447% rate increase in Sinkhole coverage premium on existing policy holders. The reasoning behind the increase was cited in a recent report which shows that Citizen's collected $32 Million in premium for sinkhole coverage in 2010 and paid over $245 Million in claims in that same time period. These numbers are up from the 2009 reports of $19.6 Million collected and $96 Million in sinkhole payouts... [read more]