Insurance Journal Southeast’s Top Stories for 2018: Fraud, Hurricanes, Data Security Law

By | December 31, 2018

It was a busy year in the Southeast with two major hurricanes that wreaked havoc on the region, an escalating insurance crisis in Florida, and a new industry-specific cybersecurity law in South Carolina that takes effect Jan. 1, 2019.

Here are some of the Southeast topics and stories that were popular with our readers in 2018.

Stormy Southeast
This photo shows debris and destruction in Mexico Beach, Fla., Friday, Oct. 12, 2018, after Hurricane Michael went through the area. (Bronte Wittpenn/Tampa Bay Times via AP)

Two peak-hurricane season storms brought much destruction to several Southeast states. In September, Hurricane Florence caused heavy rain and flooding in Georgia, North Carolina and South Carolina as it lingered over the area for a few days.

But Hurricane Michael, which hit the Florida Panhandle with winds just 2 mph short of a Category 5 storm, will go down in history as the largest hurricane to ever make landfall in the region.

Florida AOB Abuse

Florida’s assignment of benefits insurance crisis was a top topic throughout 2018. From a full-court press by the insurance industry for legislative changes early in the year, to insurer attempts to mitigate abuse, to regulator and court rejections of policy language changes, there was no shortage of stories on the issue currently plaguing the state.

Insurance Fraud

The issue of insurance fraud is always a big one, particularly in the Southeast, and 2018 was no exception. Florida earning the top spot on the “Judicial Hellhole” list due to fraud and lawsuit abuse was a big story this year, as was a story about the state’s most wanted insurance fraudsters. Other top fraud stories came out of Georgia, North Carolina, and Florida.

Insurance Industry’s First State Data Security Law

South Carolina became the first state to pass a cybersecurity bill requiring any insurance entity operating in the state to establish and implement a cybersecurity program protecting their business and their customers from a data breach. The law was adopted from the National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC) “model law” and takes effect Jan. 1, 2019. Insurers are required to develop, implement and maintain a comprehensive written information security program and report it to SCDOI by July 1, 2019. Licensees must require their third-party service providers to implement security measures to protect and secure any information systems and personal information by July 1, 2020.

The law could be followed by other states looking to enact similar rules around data privacy.

Hub International South Carolina Lawsuit

A lawsuit against insurance brokerage Hub International by a South Carolina school district topped the list of most popular stories in the Southeast this year. The suit involved Berkley County School District, which sought more than $42 million from its former CFO, a local insurance agency and Chicago-based Hub.

Other popular stories this year:

About Amy O'Connor

O'Connor is the Southeast editor for Insurance Journal and associate editor of More from Amy O'Connor

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