Property Insurance News

09/22/2022 11:53 AM
Study Shows Access to Flood Data Affects Homebuyers’ Purchase Decisions
Behavior change at many levels is key to addressing the rising human and economic costs associated with climate risk. But change is hard, and actionable data is essential to supporting the case for change. Recent research by online real estate company Redfin shows that providing consumers with flood risk information about listed properties affects how they shop for homes, as well as what houses they will bid on. Redfin conducted a three-month randomized controlled trial involving 17.5 million of its users, half of which had access to property-level flood-risk scores. Users who viewed homes with an average flood-risk score of 8.5 (severe/extreme risk) and then were given access to flood risk data went on to bid on homes with an average score of 3.9 (moderate risk). By comparison, users who viewed homes with an average score of 8.5 -- but did not get access to such data -- went on to bid on homes with an average score of 8.5. ‘We now have definitive evidence that the risks posed by climate change are affecting where Americans choose to live,’ said Redfin chief economist Daryl Fairweather. ‘Before Redfin’s experiment, that was just a hypothesis.’

09/20/2022 11:49 AM
6 Insurance Lawsuits Filed Over Oregon Labor Day 2020 Fires
A half-dozen Oregon homeowners and businesses have filed federal lawsuits this month alleging underpayments in the aftermath of the destructive Labor Day 2020 wildfires, including the Almeda Fire. Two Talent homeowners, a Phoenix homeowner and a Phoenix plumbing business are among plaintiffs in six lawsuits filed in U.S. District Court in Oregon this month alleging breach of contract stemming from insurance claim disputes. Five of those six lawsuits name State Farm and Casualty Company as defendant. The exception is Teck Plumbing LLC, which filed a $1.2 million lawsuit against Ohio Security Insurance Company Sept. 6, stemming from underpaid insurance claims for its two commercial structures in the 600 block of North Main Street in Phoenix.

09/19/2022 04:29 PM
III: Florida’s Citizens is Selling Insurance at a Loss
Long known as the nation’s most hurricane-prone state, Florida has achieved a new status that is aggravating hurricane anxieties and threatening real-estate values. Florida has the worst property-insurance market. Four Florida insurance companies have declared bankruptcy since April, and others are canceling or not renewing policies. Hundreds of thousands of people have been forced to buy property coverage through the state-created insurer of last resort, Citizens Property Insurance Corp. ‘Every day, there’s another company that seems to be going insolvent,’ Citizens CEO Barry Gilway said at a recent public meeting. The number of Citizens policies recently passed 1 million for the first time since early 2014 and could reach nearly 2 million by the end of 2023, according to a Citizens projection. Two years ago, Citizens insured just over 510,000 Florida properties. Gilway called the policy growth ‘incomprehensible.’ Floridians now have the highest property-insurance rates in the nation, according to the industry-funded Insurance Information Institute. The average premium is $4,231 -- nearly triple the U.S. average of $1,544.

09/19/2022 01:49 PM
Catastrophic Flooding in Puerto Rico as Hurricane Fiona Dumps Nearly 30 Inches of Rain
Hurricane Fiona struck Puerto Rico’s southwest coast on Sunday, bringing destructive flooding, mudslides and an island-wide power blackout one day after leaving one dead in the Leeward Islands. The storm went on to make a second landfall in the Dominican Republic very early on Monday morning. By Monday morning, a small number of the more than 1.4 million power customers in Puerto Rico began to have electricity restored. Fiona made landfall at 3:20 p.m. EDT on Sunday, Sept. 18, on the extreme southwestern coast of Puerto Rico, near Punta Tocon. Fiona was a Category 1 hurricane on the Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Wind Scale, with maximum sustained winds of 85 mph, when it made landfall. LUMA Energy, the private company that handles the transmission and distribution of electricity in Puerto Rico, stated that full power restoration could take days "due to the magnitude and scope of the blackout."

09/19/2022 01:11 PM
Alaska Reels from Historic Storm that Caused Widespread Flooding
Western Alaska was reeling Monday from the most intense storm ever recorded in the Bering Sea during the month of September brought hurricane force winds and record high storm surge flooding along the coastline. Officials reported Norton Sound communities were still being affected by power outages, flooding and damages to homes, public buildings and roads, while water and sewage were also affected as the typhoon remnants and headed into the Chukchi Sea off Alaska’s northwest coast Sunday evening. Because the storm hit in September, there was no nearshore ice to protect communities in the low-lying western coast from the full wrath of high waves and storm surge flooding. Social media images showed entire communities inundated, and in one case, a house stuck under a bridge after it floated downriver in Nome, the endpoint of the Iditarod sled dog race.

09/15/2022 03:50 PM
Lawsuit Alleges Carrier Engaged in Racketeering on Late-reported Hurricane Irma Claims
Five years ago, Hurricane Irma ravaged parts of the Tampa Bay area. Now a lawsuit alleges, in the aftermath of the storm, one insurer denied legitimate claims, leaving Florida homeowners high and dry. The lawsuit claims the property insurer, United Property & Casualty Insurance Company (United P&C), was engaged in racketeering. United P&C is one of the largest property insurance companies in the state. According to the civil lawsuit that was filed in the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Florida, United P&C allegedly underpaid or flat-out denied at least 200 legitimate claims in the aftermath of Hurricane Irma. General contractor, SFR services, brought the lawsuit against United P&C in January, accusing the insurer of committing multiple acts of fraud. ‘Being a former prosecutor, my job is to collect evidence,’ homeowners insurance attorney John Tolley, Esq. said. Tolley says he represents impacted homeowners, and evidence he collected was used to bring the lawsuit. ‘UPC was telling their adjusters, no matter what, they were going to deny all of the claims, regardless of it was a valid claim or not,’ said Tolley.

09/15/2022 02:18 PM
Buildings Damaged, Cars Engulfed by Mudflows In Southern California
Rescuers searched for a person missing in a mudslide Tuesday as big yellow tractors plowed through dark, thick sludge and pushed boulders off roads after flash floods swept dirt, rocks and trees down fire-scarred slopes, washed away cars and buried buildings in small mountain communities in Southern California. With thunderstorms forecast and more mudslides possible into Wednesday, evacuation orders remained in place in parts of the San Bernardino Mountains while a wildfire raging 500 miles (805 kilometers) to the north forced residents to abandon their homes. The Mosquito Fire burning 110 miles (177 kilometers) northeast of San Francisco erupted in the afternoon just hours after officials had reported making ‘great strides’ in the battle. ‘We have all hands on deck,’ fire spokesperson Chris Valenzuela said as the fire burned near Todd Valley and Foresthill. ‘It’s burning very erratic and intensely.’ The blaze was one of three large fires in the state. East of Los Angeles, crews searched street by street for people who might be trapped by mudflows that washed rocks, trees and other debris with astonishing force the day before into Forest Falls, Oak Glen and Yucaipa and left a muddy mess and untold destruction.

09/14/2022 02:46 PM
46 Buildings Destroyed by California Wildfire, More Than 11K Residents Evacuated
Dozens of buildings burned and a major interstate was closed as gusty winds fanned a large wildfire in California’s Sierra Nevada and ignited another blaze nearby, authorities said Tuesday. The Mosquito Fire tore through 51 buildings, destroying 46 of them, in the small community of Michigan Bluff, west of South Lake Tahoe, Placer County Sheriff’s Lt. Josh Barnhart said in a statement. The sheriff’s office issued new evacuation orders for the region Tuesday, bringing the number of people who have fled the fire to more than 11,000, according to NBC affiliate KCRA of Sacramento. There have been no reports of injuries or deaths in the fire, which ignited Sept. 6 in a record heat wave that left a region already parched by a historic drought primed for dangerous fire weather. The Mosquito Fire had swelled to nearly 50,000 acres by Tuesday afternoon, and it was 18% contained, according to the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection, or Cal Fire.

09/13/2022 05:26 PM
1907 Law Used to Deny all Hurricane Ida Property Claims In NYC
Nearly a year after the remnants of Hurricane Ida flooded the Forest Hills one-bedroom apartment where Heidi Pashko and her husband live, the couple is finally beginning to settle back into their first-floor home of over four decades. That’s after living with their son’s family for about nine months and spending almost $30,000 on repairs, Pashko said. She received a couple thousand dollars from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and filed a negligence claim against the city for damage caused by sewer overflows in the storm, in the hopes of receiving some money. Pashko said she was ‘shocked’ when she received a letter on Monday from City Comptroller Brad Lander completely denying her claim. She wasn’t the only one: 4,703 New Yorkers filed claims against the city after their homes flooded during Ida. All 4,703 were denied, according to the comptroller’s office. The crux of the claims is that the city’s negligence in sewer maintenance led to flooding damage.

09/13/2022 04:39 PM
Measuring Up: Hailstone Size and Growing Damage Claims
Although spring storms leave quite an impression on the Arkansas imagination, the National Weather Service reports that the state typically experiences a secondary severe weather season in the fall or early winter -- two years out of every three. In 2001, 2002, 2004, 2005 and 2014, tornadoes were most prevalent across the state in the fall. Tornadoes commonly come from supercell storms: storms with updrafts of rising air that slowly rotate. But only 20% of supercell storms create tornadoes. More commonly, supercell thunderstorms create high winds -- and hailstones. When hail falls and Arkansans want to tell their social media world about it, these are the terms recommended by the National Weather Service...