Results matching “florida insur homeowner”

Around the web, February 19 - PointOfLaw Forum

  • Did auditors of funds that lost money with Madoff have a duty to check whether/warn that he was using bottom-of-barrel accountants? [WSJ law blog]
  • Retroactivity, the people's friend? "Judge: Exxon May Be Sued for Natural Resource Damage Done Prior to Passage of N.J. Spill Act" [NJLJ, earlier]
  • Florida regulators stage tantrum against insurers seeking to leave its underpriced, overrisky homeowners market [CEI Open Market, earlier]
  • What the new TARP rules on executive compensation mean in practice [Hodak Value]
  • "Another Welding Rod Defense Verdict" [Cal Biz Lit]
  • Whistleblower bar wins big in stimulus bill with massive new provisions covering local governments, federal contractors [Whistleblower Law Blog]

Republican Florida Gov. Charlie Crist, who keeps mysteriously appearing on lists of possible veep picks for Sen. McCain, has repeatedly defied economic logic and fairness in his interventions into the deeply troubled market for homeowners' hurricane insurance in his state. In a paper (PDF) for Washington Legal Foundation, Victor Schwartz and Phil Goldberg of Shook, Hardy and Bacon note that Crist "has personally solicited mass tort lawyers to investigate and sue the industry" -- the latest of many reasons to suspect that future catastrophes to hit the Sunshine State will be not entirely meteorological in origin.

P.S. Steve Bousquet of the St. Petersburg Times reported last month that "trial lawyers are back in force" in Florida's capital, with the enthusiastic support of Gov. Crist, who announced early in his term that "Lawyers are back!"; they've scored victories that include the deep-sixing of an Orlando mass transit plan (on the grounds that it shielded railroads from litigation) and the defeat of proposed limits on contingency fees chargeable by outside lawyers to the state as plaintiff.

Jeb Bush knocks successor's risky insurance policies - PointOfLaw Forum

When he was campaigning for governor of Florida, Charlie Crist pledged to do something about skyrocketing property tax rates in the state. And do something he has -- unfortunately, none of it has worked. Crist backed the Legislature's insurance "fix" in January that put Florida government into the insurance business big time, dramatically increasing the amount of risk taxpayers will have to bear if a major hurricane hits the state. The trade-off for this risk was supposed to be that premiums for homeowners insurance rates would tumble. Crist has also lit into insurance companies every chance he gets, calling them out as robber barons and vowing to bring power to the people.

Not surprisingly, central planning and name calling haven't worked -- insurers are even more keen to avoid risk in the state and have dumped coastal policies by the hundreds of thousands, forcing the state-run property insurance program to take on even more taxpayer-backed risk -- Citizen's Property is the state's biggest insurer and keeps on growing. Property insurance rates not only didn't go down by as much as Crist and lawmakers said, most insurers have filed for rate increases, causing Crist to engage in further episodes of table banging and name calling.

Residents of Florida have begun to notice this is getting embarrassing, and one very influential resident -- Jeb Bush, Crist's predecessor as governor -- spoke out against Crist's policies this week, although Bush was careful not to denounce Crist by name. This Wall Street Journal editorial applauded Bush's statements. The Journal quotes from a story by Ray Lehmann, a reporter for A.M. Best who broke the story. Lehmann's original story, and more, is avaiable at this post I wrote at Insurance Coverage Law Blog earlier this week.

Florida to take on yet more state insurance risk - PointOfLaw Forum

Florida's insurance "fix" just keeps getting more and more broken. Earlier this year, legislative measures backed by Gov. Charlie Crist were supposed to reign in supposedly abusive practices by insurers (attempts to limit their exposure in a state beset by hurricane losses) and lower insurance rates. Well, the legislative fix so far has been disappointing, lowering rates for homeowners insurance a disappointing 10 percent or so, instead of the hoped for 30 percent or more. That hasn't worked, so Florida is now working on making its next insurance crisis: as Martin Grace points out at RiskProf, one problem is that developers keep putting more and more high-priced property where it is most likely to be damaged by hurricanes, and these properties are unlikely to be attractive to insurers, who have been dropping property policies in the highest risk areas. The result? The state-run insurer, Citizens Property, has to step in, taking on more and more risk. Where does this all lead to? No one knows for sure, but one thing is for sure: Florida will continue to pray to the hurricane gods.

"Pray to the hurricane gods" - PointOfLaw Forum

Spectacular irresponsibility from Florida lawmakers on homeowner's insurance, as reported in the Washington Post:

Last month, state legislators voted in an emergency session to lower insurance rates, primarily in South Florida, by pledging tens of billions in public money to affected homeowners if a major hurricane or two strikes again.

Since neither the state's catastrophe fund nor the state-chartered insurance company has anywhere near enough money on hand to pay the claims they may now be required to pay after a major hurricane, the measure is considered a gamble, even by proponents....

Critics have decried the measure as irresponsible. Under the legislation, in the event of a major hurricane, the state will pay claims by taxing home, automobile and some other types of insurance policies sold in the state.

The measure promises as much as $32 billion from the state's catastrophe fund to pay homeowner's claims after a storm, although the fund currently has less than $1 billion in it. It also decrees a rate cut for the state-run insurer that handles a lot of coastal homeowner business, although current rates are already considered too low to reflect risk and the company ran out of money in 2004 and 2005. Florida Gov. Charlie Crist (R), a former attorney general of his state, is a backer of the new scheme. More discussion at Reason "Hit and Run": Ronald Bailey, Radley Balko.

Florida insurance markets - PointOfLaw Forum

The Sunshine State's market for homeowners' coverage is intensely and irrationally regulated at the moment, argues Prof. Grace, and the citizens of the state will inevitably wind up paying the price.

AEI panel on Katrina insurance lawsuits - PointOfLaw Forum

There's perhaps $15 billion at stake in litigation (Sep. 25 and links therein) over the flood exclusion clauses and their application to damage from Katrina. I'll be moderating a panel discussion Monday morning on the economic and legal issues presented by flood exclusion clauses. The speakers will be Robert Klein and Martin Grace of Georgia State University; Adam Scales of Washington and Lee University; and Joanne Doroshow of the Center for Justice & Democracy. See also Adam Scales, "How Will Homeowners Insurance Litigation After Hurricane Katrina Play Out?", Findlaw, Sep. 19; Kathy Bushouse, "Lawsuits over storm-surge damage put insurance industry on the defensive", Florida Sun-Sentinel, Sep. 27.

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