Jim Brown Compares Florida

Thursday, September 24, 2009
Perdido Key, Florida

LOUISIANA AND FLORIDA-
NIGHT AND DAY ON PROPERTY INSURANCE!

All this week, Florida’s largest newspaper, the Miami Herald, has been writing both feature articles and editorials about the problems facing Florida property owners in finding affordable insurance. Day after day, headlines conveyed the intensity of the struggle: “Storm Warning: Prop up insurance,” was a typical lead, along with “Is Citizens Insurance ready for the big one?” and “Lawmakers still scrambling on wind insurance.” Florida, like all gulf coast states, has problems of both insurance affordability and availability. But here’s the difference between the Sunshine state and the Bayou state. Florida is giving the problem serious attention. It’s a front and center concern for the governor, the legislature, insurance regulators, and the news media. In Louisiana, there is hardly a whisper.

When Florida Governor Charlie Crist took office a few months before Governor Bobby Jindal in 2007, his first words of commitment were: “The lack of available and affordable property insurance is the biggest threat to our economy. We cannot wait until the regular legislative session to find solutions.” Crisp immediately called a special session of the legislature and offered a litany of changes and reforms that led to cheaper insurance rates.”

Florida has significantly more hurricane exposure than does Louisiana. Ninety percent of all homeowners live within a few miles of the Gulf or the Atlantic Ocean. A hurricane crossing the Florida peninsula slows down, at best, only 15 miles per hour. Yet in spite of all this exposure, property insurance rates are cheaper in Florida than in Louisiana. In Perdido Key, on the Florida-Alabama border, many Louisianans have beach homes or condos. On average, they pay significantly less on these properties than they do on their homes in New Orleans, Baton Rouge and other Louisiana cities. Property insurance rates for commercial real estate have gone down, somewhere in the neighborhood of 30% to 40%, according realtor Steve Ekovich of the Tampa office of Marcus & Millichap, and insurance is more available. Continue reading “Jim Brown Compares Florida”

Slabbed Daily July 22-24. Lets tie a few things together

ying-yangThere have been a good number of news tidbits that do not necessarily constitute a post here on Slabbed on their own but when taken together tie up several loose ends and lend context to a story that does merit it’s own post in Mike Chaney’s recent insurance forum held last Thursday and Friday here on the coast.  So let’s backtrack a week and shake us up slabbed insurance cocktail by beginning with Anita Lee’s coverage of day 2:

Gov. Haley Barbour joined the coastal insurance debate Friday, telling an audience he believes regional compacts would be the best way to regulate wind coverage in coastal zones from Texas to Maine.

Barbour introduced The Travelers Insurance Cos. president, Brian MacLean, to explain the company’s proposal for improving the coast insurance market. Insurers have pulled back from coastlines in recent years, leaving state-run wind pools to fill the void.

Wind pools were intended as insurers of last resort, but their market shares have grown to levels that experts agree are unsustainable. Insurance works by spreading risk, not concentrating it.

Haley has been conspicuously absent from the insurance scene refusing to comment on the litigation while offering cheap lip service to Gene Taylor’s multi peril bill. I suspect he and the State GOP has been searching for a way to throw a bone to the people on the coast that helped elect him while working hard to preserve GOP big business bonafides with the campaign money machine that is big insurance. Continue reading “Slabbed Daily July 22-24. Lets tie a few things together”

Slabbed Daily Weekend Edition: June 6/7. Catching up on insurance news.

I finished my first radio appearance a few minutes ago and thought the show went very well. Kevin Buckel was kind enough to call in explaining his public records lawsuit against the Commish as we covered a variety of insurance related topics from appraisal to the actual cost to insure a home here in the GO Zone. Now here is a months plus worth of insurance news with more to come. (H/t to Editilla and Alan Lange)

First up we have a trio of somewhat conflicting articles out of the Louisiana insurance market, which the Wall Street Journal editorial board held up as a stellar example of a well working state insurance market, while not mentioning Louisiana has some of the highest homeowner insurance rates in the country. I’ll start with the “good” news that Louisiana Citizens rates are dropping in Orleans Parish per the Times Picayune which cites “increased competition” as the reason:

As of May 1, homeowners policies in Orleans Parish will reflect a 9 percent decrease. The stripped down “dwelling” policies, which don’t include liability coverage, dropped 22 percent, said John Wortman, chief executive of the state-sponsored insurer of last resort.

“This is because the market rates have gone down and we follow the market place,” Wortman said.

Statewide, however, the average rate climbed 7 percent and homeowners rates also rose in St. Tammany and Jefferson parishes as well.

By law, Citizens must set its prices to match that of the most expensive insurer in each parish. Continue reading “Slabbed Daily Weekend Edition: June 6/7. Catching up on insurance news.”