Property Insurance News

01/21/2021 11:00 AM
The Most Common Pandemic Insurance Fraud Schemes
Insurance fraud isn’t the most splashy form of crime and it rarely dominates the news cycle. But it does impact your wallet every day. These numbers might catch your attention: Insurance fraud (non-health insurance) is a $40 billion dollar a year criminal enterprise that costs the average U.S. family between $400 and $700 per year in increased insurance premiums, according to the FBI. About 75% of insurance industry professionals believe that 10% or more or all insurance claims have some element of fraud, according to the 2020 Friss Insurance Fraud Report, a company that provides fraud and risk detection software to insurance companies. And some industry professionals believe the number of claims with some element of fraud has nearly doubled since the COVID-19 pandemic.

01/20/2021 09:30 AM
Climate Change Likely To Increase Frequency, Severity Of Hurricanes – AIR Worldwide
Catastrophe modeling firm AIR Worldwide, in partnership with experts from the Brookings Institution and AXIS Capital Holdings Limited, has released a report exploring how climate change may affect hurricane risk in the US by 2050. The report specifically focuses on financial losses to residential and commercial properties. “Climate-related risks are among the most serious issues facing the world today, and insurers have a critical role to play in mitigating them,” said Albert Benchimol, president and CEO of AXIS. “Investing in ongoing research like today’s, in partnership with AIR and Brookings scholars, is essential. While climate change is likely to affect hurricanes in multiple ways, the report highlights two important aspects: an increase in the frequency of the strongest storms, and additional storm-surge flooding due to sea-level rise.”

01/15/2021 10:00 AM
6 AI Predictions For Property Insurance
Insurers are no stranger to large-scale technology changes, but 2020 was unique in the magnitude of change. Incumbent carriers have spent much of 2020 year moving complex IT infrastructures into the cloud and instituting new remote risk assessment technologies, in order to continue serving their customers safely and efficiently. While individual lines of P&C insurance have experienced differential impact from COVID, carriers generally appear to be coming through the pandemic with their financial health intact, as well as an enhanced appetite for digitization. Personal Auto has become more profitable due to less overall miles driven, Business Owners’ Policies (BOP) are navigating potential litigation regarding business interruption, whereas homeowners’ insurance has seen a relatively muted impact. Overall, carriers have been compelled to accelerate certain digitization initiatives, and have managed them relatively effectively, resulting in an accelerated motivation and increased confidence in their need and desire to adopt emerging digitization technologies. As carriers rapidly increase their comfort level with digitization, what emerges is an increasingly mounting need to sift the mounting piles of available data for actionable insights, in other words: finding more needles, not creating more haystacks.

01/13/2021 01:15 PM
Conflicting Damage Assessments Stall Homeowner’s Rebuild After Hurricane Laura
Robin Baudoin’s home in Sulphur looks today just like it did the day after Hurricane Laura hit Southwest Louisiana with its catastrophic damage over four months ago. Its roof is completely gone and nearly all of her belonging are in shambles. “The house is just wide open,” she said Monday. “It’s like someone took a big can opener on the roof.” Today, Baudoin, 65, lives in a small garage apartment with her two dogs and three cats. “It’s depressing for sure,” she said. “It’s almost like you have amnesia, like you have a former life. I manage to be really calm about it because it’s out of my hands. I guess one day it will catch up with me.” Baudoin blames her insurance company for the lack of progress in getting her home repaired. Assessments by adjusters don’t reflect the true amount of damage, she said. Findings from a Dec. 3 inspection by an outside forensic engineer sent by her insurance company are pending. The engineer told Baudoin she could not receive the report without the insurance company’s consent.

01/13/2021 12:00 PM
Claims Solicitation Raising Florida Insurance Rates
Florida’s Insurance Commissioner says claims solicitation is raising the cost of Florida’s property insurance industry for both consumer and provider. David Altmier told a Senate panel Tuesday that rates for property owners will continue to rise unless something is done. David Altmaier, head of the Office of Regulation, used a graph to show lawmakers the losses insurance companies took in 2020. “That’s almost a billion dollars, little over a billion dollars in underwriting losses for Florida’s domestic industry through the first three quarters of 2020," said Altmaier. "So that’s not even a full year yet and we’ve almost doubled the underwriting losses from last year.” Altmaier says while lawsuits are a main driver—a growing issue is roofing claims. "You might have heard a lot about roofing claims that are going on in our state with particularly the solo counties that I reference moments ago. These don’t appear to be normal roofing claims in which a consumer notices that they’ve had a loss and calls their insurance company, but instead solicitations," said Altmaier.

01/12/2021 12:45 PM
Climate Change And Flood Damage In The U.S.: 75$ Billion Since The 90’s
It’s long been established that warming temperatures cause more frequent and intense precipitation. But placing a dollar value on the contribution of climate change to storm damage has been tricky. Now, Stanford University researchers have determined that a third of the financial damage caused by flooding in the U.S. over the past three decades–almost $75 billion worth–can be attributed to excess precipitation caused by climate change. Other studies have calculated the climate change differential in detail for small areas, while others have made rough estimates at the national level, the Stanford team said. Their paper, published today in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, is the first to make such a precise estimate at a large scale. The publication was the result of a collaboration between Stanford climate scientists and economists aimed at conquering one of the biggest hurdles in attribution studies. To determine how much damage is due to climate change, researchers first must identify and account for all the other factors that may have added to flood damage, such as increased construction and population in flood-prone areas and rise in home values.

01/12/2021 11:45 AM
Insurer Sued By Former Charger Antonio Gates For Breach Of Contract
Former Chargers tight end Antonio Gates and his wife are suing AIG Property Casualty Co., alleging the insurer breached a contract to compensate them for a nearly $1 million burglary at their Encino home. The 40-year-old Gates and his spouse, television personality Sasha Gates, brought the suit Friday in Los Angeles Superior Court. They seek unspecified compensatory and punitive damages related to the 2018 incident. An AIG representative could not be reached for a response. The Gates home, built in 2016 with six bedrooms, nine bathrooms and more than 8,500 square feet, was burglarized on Dec. 2, 2018, as Sasha and the couple’s children slept inside, the suit states. Gates, who played for both the San Diego and Los Angeles Chargers, was away at work during the weeks before and after the burglary, according to the suit. Neither his wife nor her children were hurt, the suit states. She called Los Angeles police, who took the residence’s security video and saw at least two people casually entering through the front garage door, the suit states.

01/12/2021 10:30 AM
Natural Gas Buildup From Unpermitted HVAC Work Cause Of Baltimore Explosion
Five months after an explosion leveled three rowhomes and killed two people in Baltimore, Fire Chief Niles R. Ford has provided a cause. Two people were killed and seven people were injured after three rowhomes exploded on Labyrinth Road in northwest Baltimore in August. Ford reported Tuesday that the explosion was a result of a buildup of natural gas. Ford reports that on Aug. 9, one day before the explosion, unpermitted HVAC work was being done in the basement of 4232 Labyrinth Road. A buildup of natural gas formed, which was found to be spiked on four gas meters between 1:30 a.m. to 2 a.m. on Aug. 10. Ford says on the morning of Aug. 10, a stove was lit, igniting the explosion. Ford clarified that the contractor was licensed, but no proper permits have been found for that address.

01/07/2021 12:15 PM
Social Media Helps Frustrated Homeowner With Contested Claim
One Lake Charles woman credits the power of social media in getting one step closer to having her hurricane-damaged home repaired after weeks of roadblocks with her insurance claim. Tara Parks recently posted several videos on the social media app TikTok. She told more than 80,000 followers about her insurance company’s refusal to acknowledge the extent of damages Hurricane Laura caused to her home. “Knowing I had a platform, I thought it was worth a shot,” Parks, 33, said Tuesday. One video has nearly 600,000 views. Parks’ followers eventually shared her TikTok videos on the insurance companies’ Facebook pages. “Strangers were sharing it,” she said. “The fact that so many people who aren’t from Louisiana care when it’s not affecting them, I was very grateful for that. It really got the word out.” Less than a week after the videos were posted, Parks said the adjusting firm called her Monday, asking what could be done to make her home livable again.

01/05/2021 03:15 PM
FEMA Secures $1.153B Of NFIP Flood Reinsurance For 2021
The U.S. Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) has secured $1.153 billion of flood reinsurance for the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) for 2021, at a premium of $195.8 million. It was announced in September of 2020 that FEMA had returned to the traditional reinsurance market and commenced the procurement of reinsurance for the NFIP for 2021. After securing $1.33 billion of traditional reinsurance from a panel of 27 reinsurers at the start of 2020, it was suggested that FEMA could increase the size of the program for 2021, dependent on both appetite and price. However, the State agency has revealed that for 2021 the amount of risk transferred to the traditional reinsurance market stands at $1.153 billion, which represents a decline of more than 13% from the previous year. FEMA notes that the 2021 program came at a premium of $195.8 million and featured an upsized panel of 32 reinsurers. In fact, more reinsurers are backing the program this year than ever before, including a number of first time participants.