Property Insurance News

10/17/2019 06:15 PM
Florida Officials Promise Legislation To Speed Up Payment Of Hurricane Insurance Claims
Florida’s insurance consumer advocate will propose legislation to ease frustrations of Panhandle residents about the slow rate of payments for Hurricane Michael claims, she said Tuesday. Consumer Advocate Tasha Carter told state senators that she and her boss, Florida Chief Financial Officer Jimmy Patronis, are working on a consumer protection-focused package of ideas that lawmakers could vote on when the next legislative session starts Jan. 14. “Insurance consumers are very frustrated with their insurance companies,” Carter said. “They’re frustrated that their claims have not been closed and that they have not been handled appropriately. “And I think more importantly, insurance consumers have lost trust and confidence in their insurance companies, as well.”

10/17/2019 11:45 AM
Severe Storm Batters Massachusetts, Leaving Widespread Tree Damage And Power Outages
A powerful coastal storm struck New England overnight, battering Massachusetts with heavy rain and strong, damaging winds that reached 90 miles an hour in Provincetown and 70 miles an hour at Logan International Airport in Boston, officials said Thursday. “It’s a mess this morning,” the Hamilton Police Department wrote on Facebook. “There are trees down everywhere.” At 10:30 a.m., 218,048 customers were without power across the state, according to the Massachusetts Emergency Management Agency. The operator of the MBTA’s commuter rail service, Keolis Commuter Services, warned of “severe delays” during the Thursday morning commute due to still-challenging weather conditions, along with damage from the fierce overnight winds and rain.

10/16/2019 11:30 AM
Personal Insurance Federation Of Florida Explains Barriers To Closing Michael Claims
Victims of Hurricane Michael, which slammed into northwest Florida last year, remain a priority to insurers, the Personal Insurance Federation of Florida (PIFF) said. “One year since category-5 Hurricane Michael, packing 155-mile-per-hour winds, threw the people, land and economy of northwest Florida into disarray, the wounds are still fresh,” said Michael Carlson, CEO and president of PIFF. “Recovery will take years. The residents and communities in the affected areas need our help. And if there is some good news, the numbers show that the vast majority of claims are resolved.” Carlson said that while most claims have been resolved, there are a number of “potential barriers” that could force a claim to go beyond the 90-day “prompt pay” period.

10/15/2019 01:15 PM
How Climate Change Is Increasing Rates
A growing number of policymakers, advocates and experts predict that extreme weather may lead to higher costs for home and flood insurance. Some analysts are even predicting that the effects of climate change may make home insurance and flood insurance unaffordable for many Americans. Home insurance companies charge higher premiums to cover property associated with higher risks. Added insurance costs could lead to lower home prices. “As insurance rates rise commensurate with increasing risk related to weather hazards, and property taxes rise to cover the costs of climate mitigation and adaptation, real estate values for properties in vulnerable areas will fall,” predicts Donna Childs, author of the book “Prepare for the Worst, Plan for the Best: Disaster Preparedness and Recovery for Small Businesses.” “The insurance premiums and property taxes for these properties become higher,” Childs said.

10/15/2019 11:30 AM
Power Lines May Be At Fault In Raging Fire Near Los Angeles, Officials Say
Power lines are suspected to have been involved in a major wildfire that led to evacuation orders for 100,000 people and was blamed for two deaths in Los Angeles County last week, authorities said Monday. The Saddleridge Fire ignited in a 50- by 70-foot area beneath a high voltage transmission tower on Thursday, the Los Angeles Fire Department said late Monday afternoon. Other parts of Southern California were under rolling power blackouts to prevent fires sparked by power lines at the time. The cause of the fire remained undetermined, fire investigators said, but the electric utility serving the area, Southern California Edison, or SCE, confirmed to NBC News that it filed a notice with state regulators on Friday reporting that "our system was impacted near the reported time of the fire." The fire, in Sylmar, the northernmost neighborhood of Los Angeles, was still burning Monday night.

10/14/2019 11:45 AM
1 Missing After Hard Rock Hotel Collapse In New Orleans
One person is still missing, believed to be trapped inside the Hard Rock Hotel after the building partially collapsed without warning Saturday morning. Rescue efforts are still the focus. Engineers are evaluating the building and crews are assembling a 220,000-pound crane to try to stabilize the building, but rescue teams are unable to get to some areas due to fears of another collapse. "We have someone we have not located and can’t get to where we think they might be," New Orleans Fire Department Chief Tim McConnell said. "Our goal here is to continue making the scene safe so we can continue getting into this building deeper and deeper for rescue purposes." Several floors of the hotel toppled down Saturday amid blinding dust and flying debris. A WWL-TV viewer captured dramatic video of upper floors collapsing Saturday before one side of the building crashed to the street.

10/14/2019 11:15 AM
Deadly Los Angeles Wildfire Burns With Subdued Fury After Change In Weather
Firefighters have tightened their grip on a deadly Los Angeles wildfire burning with subdued fury on Sunday after extremely dry desert winds that had stoked the flames gave way to moister, gentler breezes blowing in from the Pacific. The so-called Saddleridge fire, which erupted Thursday night and raced across the northern edge of L.A.’s San Fernando Valley, had scorched nearly 8,000 acres (3,237 hectares) by Sunday but was mostly confined to foothills and canyons away from populated areas, fire officials said. As of Sunday morning, firefighters had managed to carve containment lines around 41% of the fire’s perimeter, more than double the containment level reported a day earlier as authorities lifted all remaining evacuation notices. At the height of the blaze on Friday, authorities had ordered the evacuation of some 23,000 homes, comprising about 100,000 people, as flames invaded several communities in northern Los Angeles.

10/11/2019 12:00 PM
Children Playing With Lighter Set Motel 6 On Fire
Fire investigators say two young children who were left alone in a suburban Houston motel room were playing with a lighter that caused a three-alarm fire , resulting in minor injuries to seven people. Rachel Moreno, spokeswoman for the Harris County Fire Marshal’s Office, said Thursday that the two children, siblings who are 3 and 6 years old, were among the seven transported for evaluation. Moreno says witnesses reported they saw the children holding a lighter while running from a room Wednesday at the Motel 6 North just off Interstate 45 about 20 miles (32 kilometers) north of Houston. Moreno says their mother had hired a baby sitter to watch the children but the sitter left the hotel room for a time.

10/11/2019 11:30 AM
Wind-Driven Wildfires Burn Dozens Of Southern California Homes
A wildfire exploded overnight in Southern California, burning dozens of homes and prompting mandatory evacuations. High winds driving the flames were expected to last for hours. The fire started Thursday night in Sylmar, northwest of downtown Los Angeles. Fueled by dry conditions and wind gusts of up to 70 mph, the Saddleridge Fire had consumed more than 4,600 acres by 3 a.m. Friday, fire officials said. It’s one of eight active wildfires burning in California days after power was shut off to hundreds of thousands of people in an effort to prevent fires. The Saddleridge Fire broke out after 9 p.m. along the 210 Freeway and jumped the highway.

10/11/2019 08:15 AM
Where Are The Insurance Checks For Hurricane Michael?
A year ago, residents of the Florida Panhandle endured the terror of Hurricane Michael making landfall near Mexico Beach. Yet thousands are still struggling to recover, with residents blaming insurance companies for dragging their feet and offering low-ball estimates to settle their claim Families and businesses should not be in limbo this long, and the state needs to push insurers to resolve all outstanding claims promptly. Former Florida House Speaker Allan Bense rightly used his high profile last week to crank up the pressure on the insurance companies. The Panama City Republican rode out the Category 5 hurricane at his home, and he has experienced first-hand the frustration that thousands of others have had with their insurers, whom Bense called the “No. 1 obstacle” to the reconstruction effort. “I’m on my seventh adjuster for my home. Seventh adjuster!” he declared at a news conference for Rebuild 850, an organization launched to shepherd ongoing support for the multi-billion dollar recovery.