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Emergency Order Temporarily Bars Property Insurance Rate Increases, Cancellations

Hurricane

Florida Insurance Commissioner David Altmaier recently signed an emergency order temporarily barring property insurance policy cancellations and rate increases. Specifically, companies may not raise rates until December 3 or cancel policies between September 4 and October 15 (this includes policy nonrenewals). The commissioner did this because Gov. Rick Scott declared a state of emergency ahead of Hurricane Irma. The goal is to help policyholders get payouts quickly so that they can make repairs to their homes and businesses.

The order also extends any deadlines that customers face under their policies to 90 days.

“This type of emergency order pertaining to insurers is common after a large disaster,” Jeff Grady, president and CEO of the Florida Association of Insurance Agents, told the Sun-Sentinel. It’s important to prevent cancellations or nonrenewals “when contractors are limited and rebuild periods can be longer.”

Order Delays Rate Increase for Citizens Property Insurance Policyholders

But just because rates are temporarily frozen doesn’t mean that insurers won’t raise them in the future. In fact, the Citizens Property Insurance Corporation filed a rate-increase request in June for multi-peril, single-family home policies in Broward, Miami-Dade, and Palm Beach counties.

Florida created Citizens Property in 2002 to provide property insurance to homeowners and business owners who can’t find insurance on the private market. The state Office of Insurance Regulation held a hearing on Citizens’ rate-change request in August. Originally the office was scheduled to approve that request in September, but the rate increase freeze will delay that approval until at least December 3.

It’s unclear how this season’s hurricane activity will affect insurance rates in Florida. Before Irma hit as a Category 4 hurricane, insurance analysts worried that the damages would be astronomical. Thankfully, estimated damages are significantly lower than anticipated.

Understanding Your Property Insurance Policy

There are many different types of property insurance policies available to Florida residents. But generally, a property insurance policy protects you financially if your home or business is damaged by a covered peril. A peril is a specific risk or cause of loss, such as a fire, flood or windstorm.

A named-peril policy covers only the risks named in the policy. For example, a flood insurance policy will only cover damage caused by flooding. If the named policy is multi-peril then it covers at least two types of losses, like wind and fire. An all-risk policy covers all types of perils unless specifically excluded. For example, most homeowners’ insurance policies don’t cover flood damage.

Your type of policy also depends on the type of dwelling that you live or do business in. For example, a standard homeowner’s insurance policy covers a single-family home.

Contact Us for Professional Help

Contact a Fort Lauderdale insurance attorney at The Pendas Law Firm today for a free consultation if your property has sustained hurricane-related damage. We will guide you through the insurance claims process and help you recover for your losses.

The Pendas Law Firm also represents clients in the Tampa, Orlando, West Palm Beach, Fort Myers, Jacksonville, Miami, Daytona Beach and Bradenton areas.

Resources:

sun-sentinel.com/business/fl-bz-florida-emergency-insurance-order-20170914-story.html

newsweek.com/after-irma-insurance-industry-relieved-now-663190

foxnews.com/us/2017/09/04/florida-gov-rick-scott-declares-state-emergency-ahead-category-4-hurricane-irma.html

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