Florida Orders Insurers to Halt Rate Hikes; Sets Up Hurricane Michael Claims Village

October 16, 2018

Florida’s insurance regulator has issued an emergency order that ensures “additional protections” to Florida policyholders – including freezing any rate hikes for 90 days – to support recovery efforts in areas impacted by Hurricane Michael.

The order by Florida Insurance Commissioner David Altmaier suspending and activating certain insurance rules was issued Oct. 15 in response to an executive order by Florida Gov. Rick Scott.

The order requires that insurers:

  1. Provide an additional 90 days to policyholders to supply required information to their insurance company. Many Floridians were displaced during this dangerous storm, and providing additional time to submit information to insurance companies gives them needed flexibility.
  2. Rescind for 90 days all non-renewals or cancellations issued to policyholders in the days leading up to Hurricane Michael. This gives policyholders 90 days to either renew their insurance policy, or find a new policy; and
  3. Freeze any and all efforts to increase rates on policyholders for 90 days.

“Governor Scott and Chief Financial Officer Jimmy Patronis have made it clear that the expectation for Florida’s insurance companies is to expeditiously respond to policyholders’ needs and to treat families fairly. The quick response of insurance companies is critical to the recovery of Florida families following Hurricane Michael,” according to a statement from the governor’s office.

Altmaier said the Florida Office of Insurance Regulation is working to “ensure every possible step that can be taken to assist those impacted by Hurricane Michael will be executed as soon as possible.”

On a conference call before Hurricane Michael with insurance companies whose policyholders fell within the scope of Michael’s projected impact, Altmaier said he and CFO Patronis emphasized the importance of a speedy response and that companies needed to be prepared and ready prior to the storm.

“Through Hermine, Matthew and Irma Florida’s industry has indicated an ability to respond to these types of events and we expect the response to Hurricane Michael from the industry will be strong,” Altmaier said.

He also stressed prior to the storm that a swift resolution for storm-related claims will be imperative to ensuring that state’s assignment of benefits crisis does not worsen.

In an email to Insurance Journal Monday, OIR said approximately 38,000 claims had been received for Hurricane Michael and a little over $5.7 million in losses had been paid to date.

PCI, a trade association representing the insurance industry said “insurers’ number one priority is getting checks into the hands of policyholders – to get families back in homes; cars back on the road; and businesses re-opened.”

“Regulatory actions should also consider the long-term stability of the insurance marketplace. Our members worked with the governor, CFO, and the commissioner last year following Hurricane Irma and are already on the scene following Michael. Insurers are already preparing to meet the administrative steps outlined by [OIR],” said Logan McFaddin, PCI regional manager.

The Florida Department of Financial Services has set up a Hurricane Michael Insurance Village on Oct. 16 through Oct. 19 from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. at the Sam’s Club Parking Lot located at 1707 W. 23rd St., in Panama City, Fla. with .

The following insurers will be participating in the insurance village: American Bankers Ins. Co. of Florida, American Integrity, American Security Insurance Co., American Strategic Insurance, Anchor Property and Casualty Insurance Co., Cabrillo Coastal, General Insurance Agency, LLC, Capitol Preferred Insurance Co., Citizens Property Insurance Corp., Cypress Property and Casualty, FedNat Insurance Co., Florida Association of Insurance Agents, Monarch National Insurance Co., Nationwide Insurance, Olympus Insurance, People’s Trust Insurance, Security First Insurance Co., Southern Fidelity Ins. Co., Southern Fidelity Property & Casualty, Standard Guaranty Insurance Co., Tower Hill Insurance, Universal Property & Casualty Insurance Co., USAA, and Weston Insurance Co.

Residents should bring documentation, including:

  • A driver’s license or other form of identification. (Passport/State issued ID)
  • Insurance cards and insurance policy information/documentation
  • Pictures or documentation of the property being claimed as a loss resulting from Hurricane Michael.
  • Any additional insurance-related information that is readily accessible.

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