Florida’s Top Insurance Issues on Tap at Insurance Summit

Insurance Professionals Flock to State’s Leading Industry Summit
Resiliency, Genetic Testing, Hurricane Michael, Cybersecurity on the Lineup

Insurance professionals will dive into top industry issues in Miami on Monday at the Florida Chamber of Commerce’s Insurance Summit. This annual summit attracts the state’s top industry professionals, regulators and leading experts in the field.

Click here for a full agenda.

Among the lineup of speakers for the two-day event are:

  • Chief Financial Officer Jimmy Patronis
  • Barry Gilway, Citizens Property Insurance Corporation
  • Jennifer Jurado, Ph.D., Chief Resiliency Officer, Broward County Environmental Planning and Community Resilience Division
  • Jane Gilbert, Chief Resilience Officer, City of Miami
  • David Altmaier, Florida Office of Insurance Regulation
  • Dawn Ingham, National Council on Compensation Insurance
  • Dave Rengachary, M.D., U.S. Mortality Markets for RGA Reinsurance Company
  • Representative Erin Grall, District 54, Florida House of Representatives 

Join the Florida Chamber for our 2019 Insurance Summit

The time is NOW to connect with members of Florida’s business community, insurance professionals, elected officials and political insiders to engage in interactive discussions on emerging issues facing insurers, business leaders and consumers.

Florida CFO Jimmy Patronis Joins 2018 Insurance Summit Line-up

 

Register

 

Florida’s CFO Shares His To-Do List

Florida’s Chief Financial Officer Jimmy Patronis, will discuss his plans to address issues plaguing Florida’s insurance industry.  The time is NOW to stabilize Florida’s insurance markets and lower costs for Florida policy holders. REGISTER TODAY and take part in informative discussions focusing on -crucial issues facing insurers, business leaders and consumers.

Panel Discussions Will Include:

– Managing CAT Risk: A Key to Financial Security
-Citizens at Work: Responding to Challenges
-Innovation at Work: Growing Florida’s Private Flood Insurance Market
-And More

AOB Abuse Tops Agenda at Florida Chamber Insurance Summit

The Florida Chamber of Commerce brought together regulators, lawmakers, insurance industry executives and other stakeholders last week for the chamber’s annual insurance summit. Through several panel discussions on pressing and emerging issues facing the state’s insurance market, the summit touched on everything from recent cases expected to raise workers’ compensation insurance costs to Hurricane Irma’s impact on the insurance and reinsurance markets to an overview of insurance-related bills considered by the Legislature earlier this year.

But the issue that drew the most attention was abuse of the “assignment of benefits” system, which has become the leading cost-driver in Florida’s property and casualty insurance market.

An AOB allows a policyholder, after a loss, to assign his or her policy benefits to a third party – generally to vendors like water-remediation companies, repairmen and contractors. This transfer not only allows the vendor to charge the insurer directly, but should they sue the insurer, they are able to take advantage of what was originally intended to be a consumer-protection provision called the “one-way attorney fee” law, allowing the assignee to collect legal fees from the insurer.

This system has encouraged unscrupulous vendors to overcharge for their services and file frivolous litigation, which can increase the cost of even the smallest claims by many thousands of dollars. Ultimately, the increased volume and cost of these claims are recovered through higher insurance rates.

 

Click here to read the entire article in the Insurance Journal. 

Special Message from CFO Jimmy Patronis

Florida Chamber’s 2017 Insurance Summit: Two Weeks Left to Register!

 

Register

 

Join Florida’s legislative leaders, insurance executives, and political insiders to address workers’ compensation, Assignment of Benefits, CAT Fund and other crucial issues facing insurers, business leaders and consumers.  Register today for the Florida Chamber of Commerce’s 2017 Insurance Summit.

Join Us for the 2017 Insurance Summit

Workers’ Comp Rates Increased December 1 -Has Your Business Been Impacted?

If your answer is yes, you do not want to miss the Florida Chamber’s 2017 Insurance Summit, scheduled for February 1-3 in Miami. Creating a competitive and stable insurance market will help consumers find the best options at the best rates. And, stable insurance markets that are protected from fraud and rate increases are essential to ensuring a business climate that encourages job creation for Floridians.

Join the Florida Chamber, along with business and industry leaders as we tackle these tough issues. For more information about the Florida Chamber’s 2017 Insurance Summit, contact Carolyn Johnson at 850.521.1235.

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Florida’s 11 Years of Good Luck Finally Ran Out

2016 Hurricane Season Concludes

This hurricane season, Florida saw its first hurricane make landfall in 11 years- Hurricane Hermine. Shortly after, Hurricane Matthew, a major hurricane that just barely missed Florida’s east coast, caused a substantial amount of damage to Florida and triggered evacuation notices for nearly 1.5 million Floridians.

There is good news though. As Christian Cámara of the R Street Institute points out, reinsurance saved Florida from catastrophic losses:

“Thanks to responsible decisions made by Gov. Rick Scott and the Legislature over the past several years, coupled with trends in the global economy, homeowners are not expected to see insurance rate increases because of these storms.”

As Florida moves on and continues the recovery process, as businesses return to normal and communities put cleanup efforts behind them, the Florida Chamber recognizes that hurricanes are part of Florida’s reality, and the question isn’t if a hurricane will hit, but when.

What’s Next for the Future of Reinsurance?

Be sure to join us in Miami on February 1-3 for the Florida Chamber’s 2017 Insurance Summit to learn more. Click here to register.

Florida Chamber Insurance Summit Asks, Is Florida Prepared for the Next Big Storm?

New Video Released at Summit Focuses on Florida’s Insurance Challenges

ORLANDO (October 27, 2015) – Florida’s main insurance cost drivers, risk and fraud, are the topic of the Florida Chamber of Commerce’s newest educational video, released today at the Florida Chamber’s annual Insurance Summit.

The video seeks to shed light on two seldom discussed cost drivers for property insurance rates- risk and fraud.

 

“The insurance industry’s contribution to Florida’s economy is essential, yet the industry far too often serves as a lightning rod – attracting billboard trial lawyers that look for opportunities to sue,” said Mark Wilson, President and CEO of the Florida Chamber. “Florida is open for business, but practices that make families and businesses a target for costly fraud shatter our competitiveness and make businesses reconsider relocating or growing in our state.”

Consider the Facts:

  • Florida has the highest property insurance rates in the country,
  • Florida has more than 1,300 miles of coastline, and 80 percent of Florida businesses and three-fourths of all Floridians reside in low-lying coastal counties, encompassing about $2.8 trillion in property value, and
  • Florida ranks second in total natural disaster risk and shoulders more than half of the entire country’s total hurricane risk.

The Florida Chamber has long supported insurance reform that will help cut down on costly fraud. The Florida Chamber’s multi-day Insurance Summit gathers business and industry leaders along with elected officials to focus on discussions that will help drive down fraud and keep Florida moving in the right direction.

Today’s topics include Florida’s Property and Casualty Market, Coastal Development, Cyber Security, Assignment of Benefits Abuse and more. Click here for the full agenda

 

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The Florida Chamber of Commerce is the voice of business and the state’s largest federation of employers, chambers of commerce and associations, aggressively representing small and large businesses from every industry and every region. The Florida Chamber works within all branches of government to affect those changes set forth in the annual Florida Business Agenda, and which are seen as critical to secure Florida’s future. The Florida Chamber works closely with its Political Operations and the Florida Chamber Foundation. Visit www.FloridaChamber.com for more information.

Insurance Litigation, Assignment of Benefits Reform a Key Focus of Florida Chamber of Commerce’s Insurance Summit Oct. 26-28

 

Florida insurance officials and industry leaders will meet to discuss the state’s top insurance issues for the upcoming year

TALLAHASSEE (October 21, 2015) – State law that was intended to ensure a level playing field between consumers and their insurance companies in the handling of claims has instead evolved into a windfall for some trial lawyers, contractors and other vendors, according to a new report by the Florida Justice Reform Institute.

The report, Restoring Balance in Insurance Litigation, calls on state lawmakers to amend Florida law to curb abuse of one-way attorney fees and Assignment of Benefits, or AOBs. The one-way attorney fee statute allows trial lawyers to collect legal fees from insurance companies if they prevail in a claims dispute, but prevents insurers from recouping their legal costs if the court instead rules in their favor. Emboldened by the statute, plaintiffs gain negotiating power to inflate bills and gain attorney fees that are potentially unwarranted or disproportionate to any amount recovered.

Over time, the one-way attorney fee statute has become an incentive for trial lawyers, contractors and other vendors – often water damage remediation firms, roofers, or auto glass shops with aggressive marketing schemes – to file meritless lawsuits using Assignment of Benefits. AOBs are intended to allow contractors to work directly with insurers in getting paid for work performed, without having the policyholder put up repair money. However, some third parties are soliciting AOBs as a means of taking control of the policyholder’s benefits and then using that authority to inflate claims and file lawsuits, sometimes without the knowledge or consent of the policyholder.

The Institute’s report, authored by Mark Delegal of Holland & Knight and Ashley Kalifeh of Capital City Consulting – two Tallahassee-based attorneys with extensive insurance experience – will be presented during the Florida Chamber of Commerce’s annual Insurance Summit Oct. 26-28 at the Grand Floridian Resort in Orlando. The event attracts Florida’s elected officials, insurance regulators and private industry leaders to discuss the major trends and issues impacting Florida insurance consumers.

 

“Maintaining a healthy and competitive private insurance market is essential to ensuring Florida is an attractive destination for new businesses, capital investment and job growth, while also benefiting consumers with more choices in the marketplace,” said Mark Wilson, President and CEO of the Florida Chamber of Commerce. “Already, Florida’s lawsuit abuse climate is known as one of the worst in the country. Unfortunately, rampant Assignment of Benefits abuse is threatening to worsen our state’s legal climate and cost families more.”

 

The conference will include speaker presentations and panelist discussions on various insurance issues, including the property and casualty market, pricing and cost drivers, regulations, cyber security, medical malpractice and workers’ compensation. A key focus will be one-way attorney fees and AOB, as outlined in the Florida Justice Reform Institute report.

“This report is the first, hard look at how the growing use of AOBs is increasing costs and litigation,” said William Large, president of the Florida Justice Reform Institute. “Policyholders just want to be made whole for their losses, but with an AOB, vendors and their lawyers are incentivized to increase the claim’s scope of work and maximize profit and litigation fees.”

Assignment of Benefits abuse has become widespread in South Florida and is quickly spreading throughout Florida. State-run Citizens Property Insurance Corp. says lawsuits over water damage claims are the main reason why it is raising 2016 premiums in the tri-county region of Broward, Miami-Dade and Palm Beach counties. Without AOB abuse, the rates for Citizens policyholders would have gone down. In addition, data mined from the Florida Department of Financial Services’ Service of Process Unit shows that AOB lawsuits have grown by 16,000 percent since 2000, and currently represent about one-third of all insurance litigation.

 

“As these water damage claims are absorbed by the insurance companies, it’s going to result in an increase in everyone’s homeowner premiums,” said Bob Rollins, an independent insurance agent for the Beacon Group in Boca Raton. “The best answer is a legislative approach. We need a law that has some teeth in it.”

 

Bills to address AOB abuse were introduced during the last three legislative sessions but failed amid intense lobbying pressure from trial attorneys, contractors and vendors who use this scheme. Similar legislation is expected to be filed for the 2016 session.

 

“The one-way attorney’s fee was meant to benefit the insured. It was not meant to benefit third party corporate vendors,” Large said. “Until legislators clarify this principle, the problem will only get worse.”

 

During the conference, Chamber organizers plan to unveil an educational video about the risks of blindly assigning insurance benefits to a contractor or other third party. John Rollins, Citizens’ chief risk officer, and Angel Conlin, general counsel for the American Strategic Insurance Co., will also discuss AOB abuse and its impact on insurers and homeowners.

NOTE: Media are encouraged to attend. RSVP to Edie Ousley at eousley@flchamber.com.

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The Florida Chamber of Commerce is the voice of business and the state’s largest federation of employers, chambers of commerce and associations, aggressively representing small and large businesses from every industry and every region. The Florida Chamber works within all branches of government to affect those changes set forth in the annual Florida Business Agenda, and which are seen as critical to secure Florida’s future. The Florida Chamber works closely with its Political Operations and the Florida Chamber Foundation. Visit www.FloridaChamber.com for more information.

Insurance Commissioner Talks Property Insurance Reforms and Cost Drivers

“We are going to… take whatever action is necessary to ensure that
Florida continues to be a viable place for businesses to flourish.”

-Insurance Commissioner Kevin McCarty

Florida Insurance Commissioner Kevin McCarty joins the Florida Chamber’s Bottom Line to discuss important insurance reforms, including workers’ comp, auto insurance fraud, assignment of benefits and flood insurance.

In order to help secure our state’s future, Commissioner McCarty understands data is a valuable tool in helping to arm leaders for the challenges ahead.

“Data is the key and we are going to get this from Citizens and we are also working with a number of our carriers that collect that data and we want to make sure that we provide the necessary information so that our lawmakers have informed decisions and we are going to help, and we appreciate the [Florida] Chamber’s leadership in this regard and look forward to working with you on this and any other issue [and] challenges to our state and to our economy.”

Register for the Florida Chamber’s Annual Insurance Summit

Join state business leaders, industry experts and elected officials as they discuss the challenges and opportunities facing Florida’s insurance industry at the Florida Chamber of Commerce’s Insurance Summit, held October 26-28 in Orlando.

Florida Chamber-Backed Property Insurance Reform Approved

The Florida State Board of Administration this week approved a Florida Chamber-backed effort to protect Floridians from future hurricane tax assessments. Governor Rick Scott, Attorney General Pam Bondi, and Chief Financial Officer Jeff Atwater approved giving the Florida Hurricane Catastrophe Fund (CAT Fund) authority to pursue transferring up to $2.2 billion in storm risk to global financial markets in an effort to prevent Floridians from paying future hurricane taxes.

“The Florida Chamber applauds the decision by the State Board of Administration to explore global financial markets to transfer risk from CAT Fund out of the state’s border,” said David Hart, Executive Vice President for the Florida Chamber. “While reinsurance rates are among the lowest in many years, and with the unpredictability of a looming hurricane season, the time to act is now.”

The Florida Chamber has long-advocated that homeowners should be provided with creative, market-based solutions to Florida’s natural disaster risks. Earlier this year, the state of Florida eliminated CAT Fund hurricane tax assessments on Floridians. Thanks to the State Board of Administration’s action this week, future storm risks may be transferred to the private reinsurance market and likely prevent Floridians from being assessed hurricane taxes in the future.

Watch Insurance Leaders Speak:

Watch Florida Insurance Commissioner Kevin McCarty, CFO Jeff Atwater and other insurance industry leaders speak at the Florida Chamber’s 2015 Insurance Summit by clicking here.

Florida Chamber Expert Panel Discusses Possible Ramification

All eyes are on the Florida Supreme Court as they deliberate taking action on two cases that could significantly impact Florida’s workers’ compensation rates.

Keeping workers’ comp rates fair and not inflated by trial lawyer tactics is a top priority of the Florida Chamber of Commerce. On behalf of Florida’s business community, the Florida Chamber led efforts to help lower workers’ comp rates by more than 50 percent over the last 10 years.

The Florida Chamber is laser focused on both cases before the state’s high court and we are actively engaged, having filed an Amicus Brief in both cases. Recently, during the Florida Chamber’s Insurance Summit, a panel of workers’ comp experts shared their thoughts on both cases.

The panel discussed how these cases challenge the gap between temporary and total permanent disability, the legality of caps on attorneys’ fees, and whether workers’ comp should serve as an exclusive remedy. A decision against the business community in any one of these cases could have a significant impact on workers’ comp rates.

The Florida Chamber is committed to keeping you apprised of the outcome of these cases, and will share the high court’s ruling as soon as the opinion is released.

U.S. Congressman Ross Meets With Florida Chamber Members

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
CONTACT: Edie Ousley, 850-521-1231 or 850-251-6261
eousley@flchamber.com

Mitigation Discussions Will Help Keep
Families Safe, Florida Competitive

ORLANDO, FL. (January 29, 2014) – U.S. Congressman Dennis Ross (R-Lakeland) met with members of the Florida Chamber of Commerce and policy leaders in Orlando Wednesday to discuss important insurance related issues facing Floridians.

Fresh from insurance talks at the Florida Chamber’s multi-day Insurance Summit, Steve Weinstein, Senior Vice President and Chief Legal Officer of RenaissanceRe, hosted the meeting, which covered topics such as property insurance, transferring risk to the private market, and how to empower Floridians to invest in their safety.

Mr. Weinstein and briefing attendees praised Rep. Ross for his leadership on insurance and mitigation issues, including his pioneering Disaster Savings Accounts Act, which would allow homeowners to contribute up to $5,000 annually to be used for fortifying or rebuilding residential properties in the event of a natural disaster. By placing mitigation in the hands of homeowner, the Florida Chamber believes Florida families would be kept safe from the inevitable next storm while reducing the economic cost of disasters in our state and across the nation.

“Representative Ross’s innovative idea would empower homeowners and families to invest in their own safety, with the mitigation features that provide the highest returns for their location and home type.” said Mr. Weinstein.

“One common thread joins all of us across the nation and that’s the unexpected risk posed to our families and communities when a natural disaster strikes,” said Rep. Ross. “It’s important that we incentivize Americans to build a safety net in the event of personal catastrophic losses from high-cost disasters like floods, hurricanes, and tornadoes. The [Disaster Savings Accounts] DSA Act is a common-sense, proactive solution that will help keep families safe, their property protected and will give Floridians and all Americans more control of their money.”

The nationally recognized, Florida-based Institute of Business and Home Safety has estimated that every dollar invested in mitigation yields four to seven times that amount in savings. Similarly, the Multihazard Mitigation Council showed that each dollar spent on mitigation saves society an average of four dollars, with positive benefit-cost ratios for all hazard types studied.

“The favorable return on investment from Congressman Ross’ bill is clear,” said David Hart, Executive Vice President of the Florida Chamber of Commerce in an opinion editorial released in support of Rep. Ross’s act. “It supports real-world safety improvements while also contributing to Florida’s economy through construction-related home safety improvements.”

 

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The Florida Chamber of Commerce is the voice of business and the state’s largest federation of employers, chambers of commerce and associations, aggressively representing small and large businesses from every industry and every region. The Florida Chamber works within all branches of government to affect those changes set forth in the annual Florida Business Agenda, and which are seen as critical to secure Florida’s future. The Florida Chamber works closely with its Political Operations and the Florida Chamber Foundation. Visit www.FloridaChamber.com for more information.

Statewide Leaders Dive into Leading Insurance Issues at the Florida Chamber’s insurance Summit

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
CONTACT: Edie Ousley, 850-521-1231 or 850-251-6261
eousley@flchamber.com

CFO Jeff Atwater, Property Insurance and Expensive
Cost Drivers Exploiting Homeowners Take Center Stage

 

ORLANDO, FL. (January 27, 2014) – Statewide leaders are gathered in Orlando today for the Florida Chamber of Commerce’s Insurance Summit  with one common goal- building on Florida’s successes by tackling remaining insurance-related challenges. Leading financial regulators, Chief Financial Officer Jeff Atwater and Florida’s Insurance Commissioner Kevin McCarty, kicked off the day-and-a-half summit that also included a discussion of leading cost drivers that are exploiting homeowners and consumers.

“[The Florida Chamber’s Insurance Summit] is an important gathering. In fact, I would say that the importance cannot be understated,” said Michael Carlson, Executive Director of Personal Insurance Federation of Florida (PIFF). “The prominent thought leaders, prominent stakeholder groups, company executives and representatives, legislators, elected officials, academics all gather under the auspices of the [Florida] Chamber at this event to talk about the problems that we face in property insurance and other insurance markets and more importantly talk about solutions, smart solutions, to address these problems.”

Kicking off the day-and-a-half statewide summit, CFO Atwater applauded the Florida Chamber for bringing insurance industry leaders together to develop solutions that will make Florida more competitive.

“It matters that you’re having these conversations over the next couple of days to navigate ahead toward making sound public policy and advance Florida toward the attraction of capital and making Florida more competitive,” said Chief Financial Officer Jeff Atwater. “The debate will be about how these ideas will create a better environment for consumers to have choice for the best possible deal.”

Insurance Commissioner McCarty highlighted Florida’s insurance successes – especially with Citizens Property Insurance – and how insurers and consumers alike are saving money.

More than 250 insurance professionals gathered in Orlando to focus on a leaner Citizens Property Insurance and how the role of Florida’s financial backstop, the Hurricane Catastrophe Fund, is evolving. Major cost drivers exploiting homeowners – exaggerated claims from unscrupulous contractors resulting in padded profits – also took center stage.

“Imagine this: You wake up to find your kitchen flooded from a broken pipe. You frantically call a water extractor who arrives and says, ‘Don’t worry. Just sign these forms and we’ll handle everything’,” Representative David Santiago, (R-Deltona), recently wrote. “The truth is, you’ve just signed away control of your insurance claim and may have permitted unscrupulous third parties to inflate the cost of the work. Ultimately, you could be sued or face a lien on your property for the difference between what your insurer legitimately owes the contractor and what was actually billed.”

Claims filed under an “assignment of benefits’’ or “AOB” form, which was intended to save homeowners money when having contracted work done, often get abused by unscrupulous vendors- which puts the insurer at risk of being unrightfully sued, driving up costs for businesses and homeowners alike.

“There’s no question that the assignment of benefit situation in Florida is out of control,” said Barry Gilway, CEO, President and Executive Director of Citizens Property Insurance Corporation. He also shared with Florida Chamber Insurance Summit attendees that 85 percent of water claims come from an attorney, not the homeowner or an adjuster, which drives up costs through litigation.

Improving on Florida’s bottom-10 legal climate, PIP reforms and a checkup on Florida’s economy – as well as its electorate – round out today’s agenda.

On Wednesday, members of the Florida House and Senate will gather to provide a legislative overview of what to expect during the 2015 Legislative Session. Private flood insurance markets, as well as a discussion of major Florida Supreme Court cases that could impact Florida’s workers’ compensation system, will be a part of Wednesday’s conversation. Click here for a more complete agenda.

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The Florida Chamber of Commerce is the voice of business and the state’s largest federation of employers, chambers of commerce and associations, aggressively representing small and large businesses from every industry and every region. The Florida Chamber works within all branches of government to affect those changes set forth in the annual Florida Business Agenda, and which are seen as critical to secure Florida’s future. The Florida Chamber works closely with its Political Operations and the Florida Chamber Foundation. Visit www.FloridaChamber.com for more information.