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”
Mr CLS gave us the heads up on Monday’s insurance conference in New Orleans attended by several gulf coast insurance commissioners and members of Congress including Dollar Bill Jefferson. Rebecca Mowbray covered the event for the Times Picayune:
Catastrophic flooding and levee breaches in Iowa could help Louisiana make its case that the federal government needs to make serious investments in infrastructure, U.S. Rep. Charlie Melancon said at a forum on coastal insurance issues Monday.
“I look forward to seeing how many people in the Midwest will be interested in the issues we’ve been discussing,” Melancon, D-Napoleonville, told a gathering of 200 at the Hotel Monteleone in New Orleans. “As we go forward, we need to invest in our infrastructure.” Melancon represents many coastal parishes.
The Insurability of the Coast forum, sponsored by the America’s Wetland Foundation, the Louisiana Sea Grant College Program, the LSU Agricultural Center and the Louisiana Department of Insurance, sought to draw the connection between the strength of Louisiana’s coast and housing stock and the long-term prospects for its insurance market. The daylong forum explored insurance, land use, hazard mitigation and public policy issues. Continue reading “Around the GO Zone in 60 seconds: The Commish Speaks, Brownies, Jindal and The Shed”
Thanks to Mr CLS for the heads up. From Commissioner McCarty’s office in Tallahassee.
I’m pleased to report that the First District Court today has again affirmed the appropriateness of the Office’s action in issuing the January Immediate Final Order suspending Allstate’s licenses to sell new business in Florida; it has denied Allstate’s request for a rehearing and has lifted the stay of the suspension. As a result, the suspension now is back in effect.
We are currently reviewing the Court’s opinion and the status of Allstate’s compliance with the law, Section 624.318(2), Florida Statutes, which requires them to freely produce documents requested by this Office. We will be issuing a more detailed statement later today.
The suspension applies to Allstate Floridian Insurance Co., Allstate Indemnity Co., Allstate Property & Casualty Insurance Co., Allstate Insurance Co., Allstate Floridian Indemnity Co., Allstate Fire and Casualty Insurance Co., Encompass Insurance Co. of America, Encompass Indemnity Co., Encompass Floridian Insurance Co. and Encompass Floridian Indemnity Co., and it only suspends the companies from writing new business in Florida.