Stand up and take it suckers. Florida doesn’t give a damn.

A nephew recently opened a branch of his insurance agency here in town, so when my policies came up for renewal I planned to transfer them to his office. But oh no . . . thanks to our consumer-hating Governor Scott and the now-infamous 2012 Florida legislature (the one that put 11 amendments to the state constitution on the ballot that contributed to voting going on until midnight, all of which were soundly defeated) that ain’t gonna happen (see below).

scottOur odd-looking Gov (nice teeth though) began his attack on all insurance that isn’t  private (as a crooked indicted former insurance exec himself, he continues allegiance to his former cohort) on Day One.  His special target has been the state-run, wildly popular and very well capitalized Citizens Insurance, which provides wind and flood coverage. In Florida, that is our hurricane policy.  (Citizens, by the way, was established after the big national companies fled Florida following Hurricane Andrew which devastated the State.)

Scott formed a committee tasked with developing strategies to literally get rid of Citizens. He wants to provide actual cash payments to private companies who take over their policies and is also offering to share Citizens’ disaster funds with them which they need since none of them have reserves as healthy as the gay-socialist-anti’merican Citizens.  Some of this is already in place; in 2013 for the first time, wind insurance will no longer covers ‘external’ structures of the sort most subject to wind damage  – that would be pool cages, screened-in porches, sheds and carports (stuff our leaders assume the common folk could easily cover out of their movie money). Adding to the pain, there’s not another reputable company offering alternatives – not at any price. Isn’t that nice? 

So, back to my nephew and his shining new local business. Here’s the text of an email I just got from his office. Both the agent and I have now agreed that I’d put  myself at risk of being denied insurance altogether were I to attempt to support Mike’s new business by transferring my policies to him. She said:

I am running into a problem with Citizens. As you know, they are increasingly difficult to work with for us. In order for us to change the agent on the policy, they now require the policyholder to re-qualify and will not transfer documents from one file to the other. Because of the age of your home, they are going to require a new 4 point inspection which would verify the condition of the roof, electrical, plumbing and AC systems. All items must show that they are free of defects and have at least 5 years remaining useful life. This is different from the Wind Mitigation inspection that we discussed when you were in the office, which is only required in the event that you wish to have credits applied to the policy and only verifies structural elements and not condition. Unfortunately for us, if you simply renew your existing policies, you are not subject to this condition . . . .

And now, the same situation has popped up with my homeowners policy. I guess they’ve figured if Citizens can get away with this, so can they. Both policies will now remain with my current agent. Sorry Mike.

Way to support new businesses Gov! But hey, F-R-E-E-D-O-M.

When Florida votes this clown out of office in 2014 we may be able to repair some of what he’s done; till then, it’s going to hurt – a lot.

23 responses to “Stand up and take it suckers. Florida doesn’t give a damn.

  1. That’s one way of looking at it, Moe. The other is that you’re being exempted from inspections because you’re just renewing without changes.

    Without knowing what the issues are with the various structures in FL these days, I can’t really tell if there’s malfeasance going on or, if there is, of what sort.

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    • jonolan, I’d be renewing without any changes in any case. I just want to process the policy renewal through my nephews office – basically give him the business. I never contemplated any changes in the policy.

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      • We get into how the regulations were written then and it wouldn’t be the first time that a law or regulation was poorly written and ended up with unintended consequences.

        I remember when FL first passed its concealed carry laws and screwed it up, writing the law in such a way as to accidentally legalize open carry with no permits or licensing needed.

        😆 I actually came home on leave during that, strapped a pair of pistols around my hips and went to the mall to make a point of how stupid the legislators were.

        Yep! I’m 100% behind the right keep and bear arms but full open carry with no limitations is NOT a good idea when we’ve stopped training people how to safely carry arms.

        In any event, don’t immediately ascribe to malice or corruption what can easier be ascribed to stupidity and laziness.

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        • I’m not ascribing corruption, but it’s clearly very intentional. Hell, they announced a determination to put Citizens out of business. I think it’s one of the things Scott talked about from Day One. Reducing benefits while raising prices (they did that too) is one way to make the company less attractive to consumers.

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          • That may well be true. Citizens was never meant to be anyone’s insurance of choice. It was always designed to be an emergency fallback.

            Now, they may just be doing everything they can to get it back to being what it was meant to be, preferably before the next major storm and resulting damages drains its coffers and leaves a bunch of people on the hook for the funds to pay for it – yourself included since your policy includes a surcharge / levy of 45% of your premiums to help cover any overruns.

            It’s a shitty situation though. I seem to remember that they originally tried to setup something like the FAJUA but all of the insurance companies refused to take part in it even at the risk of being kicked out of FL in their entirety.

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            • The irony jonolan is that Citizens has received the highest ratings for solvency and ability to meet demands. The other companies aren’t rated as high. And of course, if the private insurers can’t pony up, we all know who ends up picking up the difference. Us.

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              • That’s ironic, especially when you consider that they, themselves, have been warning that they couldn’t meet the demands if another major storm hit. That doesn’t bode well at all.

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                • None of the insurers could meet the demands – only Citizens is well positioned to do so. Let me bury you under some evidence:
                  From Miami Herald:
                  http://www.miamiherald.com/2012/10/03/3033372/companies-that-want-citizens-policies.html
                  . . . .None of the insurers is rated by the prime ratings agency, A.M. Best. Many Florida property insurers have avoided it for fear of a poor rating.
                  Another rating agency, Weiss Ratings, gives four of the five companies a weak D rating, questioning if they could handle a large hurricane. . . .

                  Tampa Bay times:
                  http://www.tampabay.com/news/a-closer-look-at-five-insurers-taking-a-big-chunk-of-citizens-property/1254674
                  Citizens — and its former policyholders — have gotten burned by takeout programs in the past.
                  The granddaddy of onetime Citizens’ takeout companies, Poe Financial Group, was swamped with hurricane payouts and fell into Chapter 11 bankruptcy reorganization in August 2006 after storms caused more damage than it could cover. To pay for Poe, the state assessed everyone in Florida who buys homeowner or auto insurance. Lightning struck again with Magnolia Insurance, which was the biggest participant in a Citizens takeout program in 2009, the year before it went out of business. Another takeout firm, HomeWise Insurance Co., failed in 2011 and its policies were assumed by Tampa-based Homeowners Choice, which is the single-biggest takeout company participating in this round.

                  South Florida Business Journal:
                  http://www.bizjournals.com/southflorida/news/2011/10/12/weiss-ratings-give-low-grades-to-35.html?page=all

                  The number of troubled property and casualty insurers in Florida has increased, according to Jupiter-based Weiss Ratings.
                  After analyzing the financial condition of the insurers in Florida as of midyear, Weiss Ratings gave 35 of them a rating of D or F. That’s up from 29 with poor grades on Dec. 31 – . . .
                  Meanwhile, Weiss Ratings found that only state-owned Citizens Property Insurance Corp. deserved an A+ rating. The only firms in Florida with B+ ratings were American Family Home Insurance Co. and American Strategic Insurance Co. Weiss Rating did not recommend any other insurers.

                  and from Business Wire:
                  http://www.businesswire.com/news/home/20120524006241/en/Fitch-Assigns-Citizens-Property-Insurance-Corp.-FL

                  Fitch Assigns ‘A+’ to Citizens Property Insurance Corp. (FL) PLA/CLA
                  NEW YORK–(BUSINESS WIRE)–Fitch Ratings has assigned an ‘A+’ rating to the following senior secured bonds of the Citizens Property Insurance Corp., Personal and Commercial Lines Accounts (PLA/CLA) . . . The Rating Outlook is stable.

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                • And hence the irony, Moe.

                  I don’t dispute the evidence you’ve presented; it matches what I uncovered on my own. That doesn’t change the fact that Citizens is also saying that they won’t be able to handle a storm.

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                • jonolan, the ‘they’ who are saying they coundn’t handle it are the overseers put in by Scott. Their assignment is to kill Citizens. Their claim is correct by the way for one of those giant storms like Charley (or Sandy god forbid!). But that is doubly true of th eprivate insurerss. Citizens is best positioned; no one can carry it all if there’s a Cat 5 or anything.

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  2. When is Scott up for re-election?

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  3. I see his approval rating recently spiked upward by 1 percent …… at that rate, get ready for a second term. …. 😉

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  4. Has this caused your nephew to reconsider his support of all things GOP? And while I agree he looks creepy, I don’t think one should be faulted for their Elvis-given appearance.

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  5. I recall some some corporate hanky-panky by Citizens reported recently in the national press. Was that real or fabricated?

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  6. I brought my citizens policy over to Mike’s office on Monday. I’ll be interestedc to see if I get the same response

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