There is no doubt that the increases in property insurance has adversely affected the RE market and the overall economy of Florida. But what our industry and the homeowner needs is real change.
Christ and the Office of Insurance Regulation is doing the best they can to stop requested double-digit increases by the insurance industry, but there is something the average Joe can do to help.
Being an inspector performing Wind Mitigation Inspections throughout South Florida, it is staggaring to know how many homeowners are unaware they can reduce their wind strorm premiums in upwards of 35-56 percent.
The reason most homeowners don't know about these discounts is that when legislation was passed mandating these discounts be made available, there was no specific wording mandating a clear method of informing the consumer or a method of attaining them.
Now let me think about this for a minute...If I were an independent insurance agent and my gross revenue is directly determined by a percentage of overall premium dollars collected from my clients, how hard would I beat that drum? Can you say. "duh?"
Typically, the information stating "your home could qualify for discounts" is burried within your policy. How many of you actually have read through your policy. I tried twice. Now I'm not the dumbest guy on the block, but when I hand it to my attorney and he doesn't understand the thing, how many regular guys out there even attempt?
What is even more amazing, when some consumers call to complain about their double-digit premium increases, they're told the only way to reduce the premium is to raise the deductible. And that is what a lot of homeowners did and that's why we still see blue tarps on roofs. These unfortunate souls increased their deductible and now can't afford to re-roof their home. Why, because they don't have ten thousand sitting in the bank to cover their standard and hurricane deductibles. Oh, did I mention whether they had "code compliance" coverage? That is another blog for another day..but remind me because this one with really make you angry.
There might be a few of you saying."Oh David, it really isn't the bad, is it?" Really, this is happening. For example: I conduct these inspections and have a State Farm agent that carries over 6000 homeowner policies. And interesting enough, only 1700 of the 6000 have actually had the wind mitigation inspection performed. Guess how many letters she sent out, in July, to her clients to notify them of this discount.....
150 ...What is wrong with that picture? But if asked, she's in compliance.
What we need is an ammendment to the existing legislation mandating that all homeowners policies require this inspection in order to bind policy. As is stands, we cannot rely upon the insurance industry to comply and look out for the consumer. It just isn't going to happen. Face it, we are talking about hundreds of millions in premium dollars. Which I might add, is being over-paid by homeowners.
So, start calling, writing and emailing your representative and demand change.
Let's put all Floridians on the same playing field.
Gold Coast Inspections 954-753-3755