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Gambling with Mother Nature Aug 9, 2017
DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (AP) - Pete Walker is gambling with his island home near Sarasota Bay - declining to renew his flood insurance and taking his chances with potential storm and water damage. The retired installation supervisor for Verizon lives in a Gulf Coast barrier island subdivision already vulnerable to occasional tidal surge, as well as - according to projections by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration - eventual sea level rise.

Even on sunny days, high tides routinely push salt water from the bay upward through the storm drain in front of his 1920 home in Longbeach Village, Longboat Key’s oldest neighborhood. “It gets in our yard quite often and got in the garage a few times,” Walker said. “One time there was water in the master bedroom.” Passing cars aggravate the flooding, creating a wake that helps push saltwater onto the Walker property. Yet, when he paid off his mortgage a couple of years ago, Walker declined to renew his flood and hurricane insurance. “That saved me $6,000.”
After 26 years at his Longbeach address, he decided to take the financial risk for any water or storm damage to his wood-frame home, rather than continue to pay premiums that are likely to rise in the years ahead.
“If this place gets wiped out, I’ll sell the property,” Walker vowed.


For Floridians with no debt on their homes by or near the water, dropping the flood or other insurance previously required by their mortgage lenders could become a greater and greater gamble over time - especially if they live in areas affected by rising tides and sea level.

Sunshine State homeowners who must insure their properties are buying policies from an industry that already is reacting to what it sees as global climate change - and its accompanying potential for more frequent flooding and storms and escalating damage claims. That reaction is one of caution that ultimately could call for dramatically increasing premiums - or even declaring some areas too risky to underwrite at any cost.

While politicians still debate whether climate change or the impact - rising sea levels - are real, insurers already are preparing, especially in states like Florida. Besides the cost, the results could impact where people can live.
Before the 2017 hurricane season even began, hail, tornadoes and ice storms elsewhere in the nation in the first quarter the year led to an unprecedented spike in insurance claims of nearly $7 billion. The previous industry average for the same three-month period was $1.5 billion.

“If you were to ask most people if there are more natural disasters, they would say ‘no’” because they do not acknowledge such an event “if it doesn’t hit them,” said Lynne McChristian, Florida representative and catastrophe response director for the Insurance Information Institute.

But the insurance industry knows otherwise, said McChristian, who also is a faculty member at the Florida State University School of Risk Management and Insurance. It is responding to more frequent storms of all types - “not just hurricanes. … They’re hitting more populated areas. That’s what makes them more costly.”
It could take time for the impacts to dawn on average homeowners.

So far, “sea level rise isn’t a huge concern of people I see,” Jeff Nungesser, owner of Iron City Insurance in Sarasota, said of his clients. “People worry about paying their premiums today. They’ll worry about sea level rise in 30 years.” For insurance companies, however, sea level rise already is a major consideration.
As an industry based on weighing risk, insurers say denying climate change and its potential consequences, such as sea level rise, is not an option. “The fact is that climate is changing,” said Don Griffin, vice president of the Property Casualty Insurers Association of America, a trade association that represents more than 1,000 companies that collectively cover 35 percent of the homeowner, business and automobile insurance market. “We’re experiencing a warmer period now.”
Uncertainty of risk Griffin insists the insurance market is currently well positioned, with the money to handle claims.
“We are strongly capitalized. … We are in a better principal position than we have been in 50 years,” he said. “We have to have the funds available to pay for losses.”

Over time, the risk is that higher seas and a changing climate will result in more costly disasters. That could change insurers’ attitudes on whether they want to take on those risks.

The concern, McChristian explained, is not a single event such as a tornado - “that is not going to devastate” a company - but what the industry calls a “mega-disaster” causing wide swaths of devastation.
“It is not inconceivable that in any given year there could be more than one mega-disaster,” the Insurance Information Institute warns.

Insurance companies buy “reinsurance” from entities such as Lloyd’s of London. “That reinsurance exists as their financial back-up,” McChristian said. It also enables them to “take on more business.”
“When there isn’t a disaster the money (in the reinsurance market) is plentiful,” McChristian said. After a disaster, however, “investors pull back.”

After a series of disasters, the insurance and reinsurance markets will have to consider “limiting how much they take on in vulnerable areas,” McChristian said.
Policies will not be “canceled,” though that is the term consumers often use, she explained. “Policies are not renewed . People say, ‘I’ve been with them (an insurance company) for 20 years.’ No. You’ve had 20 one-year policies. You have protection for that one year.”

Although a few underwriters may offer homeowners a locked-in rate for a three-year policy, “most do not,” Nungesser said. Just because a property owner’s premium may have held steady for the past year or so, “that’s no guarantee what it will be 12 months from now.”
Even private insurers that offer flood insurance at rates that can be competitive with federally subsidized policies only do so based on “today’s risk,” Nungesser stressed.

Like all insurers, they frequently reassess that risk. After the eight hurricanes that pummeled Florida in 2004 and 2005, many insurers in Florida stopped renewing policies, upending the market and forcing many property owners into the state-managed Citizens Property Insurance.
If and when that could happen again are lingering possibilities. Paying your yearly premiums is not a long-term guarantee of coverage. Insurance companies are adept at anticipating the possible numbers of house fires and burglaries they may have to cover based on trends, Griffin said, but “Mother Nature is not quite so predictable.”
“People do not appreciate the uncertainty of the risk,” McChristian said. “It’s all about the unknown.”
What is known is that the risk will rise as Floridians continue to build near rising shorelines.

Low to high scenarios

The Union of Concerned Scientists projects that, within the next two decades, nearly 170 coastal communities in the United States will face “chronic” inundation, which it defines as flooding at least 26 times per year or about once every other week.

The organization recently issued projections for the rest of the century for “low,” ”intermediate” and “high” scenarios of sea level rise in Florida and which seaside towns are likely to be affected.

The “low scenario” is based on the presumption that carbon emissions will decline steeply and global warming will be limited to less than 2 degrees Celsius. In that case, the scientists foresee nearly 20 Florida communities experiencing sea level rise in some neighborhoods by 2100 - including Longboat Key, the Keys, Merritt Island, Key Biscayne and St. Pete Beach.

The “intermediate scenario” is based on carbon emissions peaking about mid-century and global sea level rise of about four feet with a “moderate” increase in ice melting. That case contributes to extensive sea level rise in the Keys and on Key Biscayne by 2035 and in Miami Beach, St. Pete Beach, Merritt Island and other locales by 2060.
By 2080, the organization states, about 25 more communities would be affected by the “intermediate scenario,” including Longboat Key, Palmetto, Fort Lauderdale and Cocoa Beach.

By 2100, the “intermediate” projections are that nearly 60 Florida communities will, to varying degrees, be coping with rising seas, including Bradenton, Englewood, Miami and the Jacksonville beaches.
The “high scenario” is based on the presumption that greenhouse gas emissions rise through the end of the century causing more ice melt and about 6.5 feet in sea level rise.

If that happens, the organization says that, by 2030, the Keys, Key Biscayne and Cape Sable will be contending with rising sea levels. By 2045, the number of affected Florida communities will grow to nearly 20, including Miami Beach, St. Pete Beach and Melbourne Shores.
By 2060 another 12 could expect to be added to the list, including Longboat Key, Palmetto, Cocoa Beach, Fort Lauderdale, Hollywood, Jacksonville area beaches and Sanibel Island.
By 2070, the “high scenario” could mean sea water flooding in about 50 communities, including Ormond Beach, Port Charlotte and Englewood.

By the turn of the century, the organization predicts the “high scenario” causing nearly 90 Florida communities to be at least partially submerged.
They would include Venice, Naples, Fort Myers, Apalachicola, Fort Walton Beach, Bradenton, Daytona Beach, Hollywood and Homestead.

Today’s Replacement costs

Bob Lenari, a lifelong resident of Whitaker Bayou in Sarasota, is among Floridians who have decided to no longer insure their homes from storm damage.
He had been paying about $810 annually for flood insurance, with the intention that the $114,000 policy would enable him to rebuild the small home he inherited.

He has since removed the tidal gauge on his dock and declined to renew his federally subsidized insurance for flood damage.
Although Whitaker Bayou is in an area the city of Sarasota regards as being eventually vulnerable to sea level rise attributed to global warming, Lenari sees no cause for immediate concern.

The highest tide he has experienced on the bayou would have to rise another four feet to reach his home, the retired barber said. “I grew up here and I’ve never seen anything close. I’ll insure it myself. If I have to, I’ll tear it down and build another one.”
But replacing a home, especially one that has flooded, can be increasingly expensive, whether for the homeowner or an insurer.

For the insurance industry, several factors come into play in assessing potential damage that were not as evident decades ago, especially in Florida, where 1,000 new residents arrive daily.
“Insurance is tied to building costs,” McChristian said. “It’s all about rebuilding after destruction.”
While a Florida home damaged in a hurricane decades ago may have consisted of a carport and an interior without air conditioning, today’s homebuyer wants more square footage, more lavish furnishings and more expensive amenities.

Adding to that, Griffin stressed, “we have more people on the coasts than we have ever had.”
And they keep coming, buying new structures that conform to the tougher building code Florida adopted after 1992’s Hurricane Andrew, but still putting themselves in potential harm’s way.
Although structures can be constructed for “hurricane resistance,” McChristian said, “there is no hurricane-proof building.”
Inflationary costs of raw construction materials also add to an insurer’s replacement expenses.
According to the Insurance Information Institute: “Hurricane Katrina caused losses of $41.1 billion, the highest on record, about twice as much as Hurricane Andrew would have cost had it occurred in 2005. . If, as suggested, hurricane-related losses grow by as much as 40 percent over the next 20 years, a Katrina-like storm could cause $60 billion in losses, or significantly more if it struck a densely populated metropolitan area like Miami or New York City.”
Increasing risks, decreasing values

Werner Kruck, chief operating officer for Security First Insurance, calls sea level rise the single biggest climate change issue for Florida.
The Ormond Beach-based homeowners insurance provider and underwriter said, “You have inundation slowly but surely, and it creeps in.”
It’s not that the insurance industry is on the hook for all that damage, Kruck said. The federal government writes most flood policies, which would cover the loss for properties that are lost to the sea. But that, said Kruck, has created its own set of potential problems.

The federal flood insurance program, enacted in 1968, relies on taxpayers for its reinsurance or it would otherwise be considered bankrupt. It borrowed nearly $25 billion from the U.S. Treasury to meet its obligations after Hurricanes Katrina, Sandy and Ike, a debt that is not expected to be repaid.
Congress must decide by September whether to renew the troubled program and, if it does, whether to toughen its standards or call for steep hikes in premiums.
The NFIP has about 5 million active policies. It continues to provide coverage for “severe repetitive loss” properties that, according to the Washington Post, have historically accounted for about 30 percent of its claims - allowing homeowners to rebuild, get flooded and rebuild again.
Rising seas are expected to expose more properties in the federal program to flooding and tidal surges. The real estate appraisal firm Zillow estimates that nearly 2 million U.S. homes worth almost $900 billion could be underwater with a six-foot sea level rise by 2100. That estimate equates to nearly 1 million homes in Florida, one in eight, being subject to flooding.

The business of insuring properties at risk from the sea and storm damage is likely to make the economic realities even worse in the years ahead, for the federal government and the private insurance industry, Kruck said.
“Because what happens if I own a home in Miami and all of a sudden the water is starting to lap up on high tide a little bit more, and a little bit more, and a little bit more? The first thing is my home is not worth as much,” Kruck said. “So, what happens is people have high-end real estate and once everybody realizes that it’s only a matter of time before it’s uninhabitable, it becomes worthless.”
“Now, from an insurance point of view, what we do not want to do is insure property at a high replacement value that the owner knows is worthless because you have a higher incentive to cause insurance loss before you have your final flood loss.”

Arson, for example, becomes a huge issue for insurers when people know their properties are going to decrease in value.
“We don’t want as a general rule to insure something for a high limit where the replacement cost significantly exceeds the market value,” he said. “Because then there’s an increasing incentive for that individual to have a loss that’s covered so they don’t have to be exposed to the loss that isn’t covered.”
While Kruck doesn’t necessarily agree with suggestions that insurance companies “need a plan for climate change,” he said the industry is continually getting better at assessing individual risk and pricing premiums accordingly. And that will have impacts as seas rise.

“That’s good for us and it’s good for the majority of insurers,” he said. “It’s bad for the people that we can isolate and say that’s a risk that’s way too high.”
It means the industry will be quicker to avoid writing policies in areas once the industry determines the market value has “dropped next to nothing.”
“Insurance companies will become unwilling to insure properties along the waterfront,” or will “significantly increase the premiums to account for potential losses.”

Finding a company to insure a waterfront property at what the owner believes it is worth will become a problem, he said. Insurance premiums, if a company agrees to write a policy, are likely to become more and more expensive.
“You’ll have an increasing number of businesses and individuals that have a financial loss that’s not covered by anything,” he said. “They’ll probably turn to the government.”
Most homeowners in flood-prone areas already buy their flood insurance from the federal flood insurance program, which writes policies at subsidized rates. And that, said Kruck, has exacerbated the problems that will occur with rising seas.

Federal subsidy conundrum

The federal government “provided subsidized insurance to people so that they would build in low-lying areas that are susceptible to inundation,” Kruck said. Now owners have homes with a mortgage or their life savings wrapped up in at-risk properties.
“And now you say, well, the costs have gone way up on that and who’s going to bear the financial risk for that?”
A few years ago, the federal government tried to enact changes that would allow higher premiums for flood insurance. But protests from people who were facing a tenfold increase in their insurance rates forced the government to scale back those increases.

“At some point in time you would start looking at communities and say it doesn’t make sense to have residences here because the cost of financing or protecting against flooding is so high that you better plow them under and make it a park,” Kruck said. “But that means somebody is going to have a loss.”
If a home is worth $200,000 but the cost of a flood insurance policy is $25,000, a buyer is not going to pay full price for the home, he said.

“The value would have to come down to compensate for the annual cost of flood.”
But, when the federal government subsidizes rates, it encourages people to stay, build and invest in low-lying, flood-prone areas, he said. And if the seas rise an inch, and a hurricane comes in at high tide that’s higher than before, that can mean a lot of damage.
“We put ourselves in a big damn hole is what we have done,” said Kruck. “We’ve got tons of residences in low-lying areas that aren’t paying the economic costs.”
Most private insurers don’t write flood policies. But Kruck said those that do won’t be writing policies if the risk is too high.

In the past, entire communities were given prices for insurance policies based on class. With today’s advanced mapping and technology, companies instantly determine a home’s risk, said Kruck.
“We can assess the flood risk and come up with a price,” he said. “In some areas that price would be a lot higher than the federal price.”
If private insurers begin writing more flood policies in low-risk neighborhoods, that’s likely to leave the federal government on the hook for all the rest.
“It’s all a matter of economics,” Kruck said. “It’s not policy. It’s not politics. It’s economics. Supply and demand. Subsidization.”
What is Equipment Breakdown and What Does it Cover? Aug 9, 2017
Homeowners Equipment Breakdown Coverage is an OPTIONAL endorsement alternative to costly product and home warranty plans - Equipment Breakdown Coverage through your Homeowners Insurance Policy. Whether you are a renter or a high-value homeowner, we have your equipment breakdown exposures covered. The modern home contains many expensive systems and appliances subject to equipment breakdown. These include:
• Clothes Washers and Dryers
• Computer Equipment
• Dishwashers
• Freezer Units
• Garbage Disposals
• Heat Pumps
• High Efficiency Home Heating and Central A/C Systems
• High Energy Electrical Service Panels
• Home Security Systems
• Kitchen Refrigerators
• Lighting and Home Environment Monitoring
• Microwaves
• Ovens
• Sump Pumps
• Surround Sound Systems
• Swimming Pool Equipment
• Televisions (Plasma, LCD, etc)
• Water Heaters
• Well Water Pumps
Even items that you typically think of as disposable; such as, garage door openers, exhaust/ceiling fans, DVD players and much more, could benefit from this coverage as a result of an electrical power surge.

“If it uses electric power, it is most likely subject to Equipment Breakdown.”
Often this equipment requires sophisticated diagnostic tools and skilled technicians to oversee a potential repair. Equipment breakdown coverage protects you against unexpected repair or replacement costs due to a electrical, mechanical, or pressure systems breakdown. In addition to coverage, loss prevention information and loss adjustment services are customized at a fraction of the cost of limiting home warranty products. Best of all, this additional coverage follows the terms and conditions of your insurance policy. Off-Premises Coverage can now be included. 

Did You Know?
Thirty-eight percent of all equipment breakdown losses are mechanical in nature. without this coverage, along with electrical breakdown, these losses are typically excluded under your homeowners policy.

Typical Losses:
A domestic water 230-volt deep well pump short-circuited to ground. Upon being pulled from the well to determine its condition, it was concluded that cost to repair the motor was greater than the cost of replacement.
Cost of Replacement: $1,850
Loss of Use: $186


During a family vacation, a storm caused a power outage. A laptop computer and cell phone were charging when the outage occurred. When power was restored, a voltage spike damaged the items beyond repair and required their replacement. With the Off-Premises Coverage the homeowner would now be covered!
Cost of Repairs: $3,750

A personal computer (PC) used to control multiple systems (HVAC, lighting and irrigation) within the home sustained
electrical damage from a power surge. Replacement of the computer and the unique programming was required.
Property Damage: $2,975

An air conditioning system suffered an ice buildup in the evaporator due to a cracked compression fitting. The ice plugged the condensate drain causing water to flow into the control cabinet, short-circuiting the solid state controls for the air conditioning system and furnace.
Cost to Repair: $2,800

Q: What does Equipment Breakdown cover?
A: It covers the perils of mechanical, electrical and pressure systems breakdown, which are excluded or limited perils in the homeowner’s policy.

Q: What are some examples of covered property?
A: Examples of covered property are items in a home that can break mechanically or electrically; for
example, wine cooling unit, heat pumps, swimming pool equipment, air conditioning systems, electrical
panels, televisions & media equipment, as well as other household appliances.

Q: What are some examples of real losses?
A: An insured’s property was hit with an artificially generated power surge. The boiler and water heater controls, security system and media equipment were damaged.
Amount of loss: $18,341

During a family vacation, a storm caused a power outage. A laptop computer and cell phone were charging when the outage occurred. When power was restored, a voltage spike damaged the itmes beyond repair and required their replacement. With the Off-Premises Coverage the homeowner would now be covered!
Amount of loss: $1,495

An insured’s air conditioning system experienced an electrical short causing loss of cooling to the home. The air conditioning compressor needed to be replaced.
Amount of loss: $3,295

The circuit board in a subzero freezer arced. Due to the age and availability of a circuit card, the whole unit had to be replaced. The cost to replace the unit was $9,259. The endorsement also extended
additional coverage for food spoilage.
Amount of loss: $11,345


Q: Are other structures (i.e. pool house, garage, shed) covered property?
A: Yes. The equipment breakdown form follows covered property as defined in the homeowner’s policy.

Q: What is the benefit of adding equipment breakdown coverage to my homeowner’s policy?
A: There are specific exclusions for mechanical and pressure systems breakdown in the homeowner’s
policy. Typically, electrical breakdown coverage is limited in the homeowner’s policy. By adding the equipment breakdown enhancement endorsement, loss caused by, resulting from, or consisting of an electrical, mechanical, or pressure systems  breakdown, will be covered.

Q: How does this coverage differ from a home warranty?
A: A home warranty is expensive. It may also restrict certain equipment or include it at an additional cost. By adding the equipment breakdown enhancement endorsement to your homeowner’s policy, coverage applies to all real and personal property in your home.

Q: What happens if multiple pieces of (real and personal) property breakdown at the same time?
A: These items can be combined together to form one submitted loss if the cause of loss is the same occurrence for all pieces of property.

Q: Can damaged equipment be replaced with more efficient equipment?
A: Yes, the equipment breakdown endorsement will pay up to 150% for replacement of equipment that is
more efficient and better for the environment.

Q: Is there coverage for personal property away from the insured’s described premises (i.e., laptop
at college, GPS, etc.)?

A: Yes, Off-Premises Coverage is now included. Coverage was previously limited to “Residence Premise” and now we’ve extended coverage for property that is away from the described premises.

Q: What is the difference between wear and tear and mechanical breakdown?
A: A mechanical breakdown usually occurs suddenly. Wear and tear usually occurs over time. In instances where wear and tear occurs, performance of the equipment slowly declines and its capacity
diminishes; however, the equipment continues to operate but does not perform as expected. Therefore, because coverage for wear and tear is excluded in the homeowner’s policy and no equipment breakdown has occurred, there would also be no coverage provided by the equipment breakdown endorsement.
Atlantic Storm Names May 27, 2016
Here is a list of the upcomming storm names for the next few years:

Atlantic Names

 
2016 2017 2018 2019 2020 2021
Alex
Bonnie
Colin
Danielle
Earl
Fiona
Gaston
Hermine
Ian
Julia
Karl
Lisa
Matthew
Nicole
Otto
Paula
Richard
Shary
Tobias
Virginie
Walter
Arlene
Bret
Cindy
Don
Emily
Franklin
Gert
Harvey
Irma
Jose
Katia
Lee
Maria
Nate
Ophelia
Philippe
Rina
Sean
Tammy
Vince
Whitney
Alberto
Beryl
Chris
Debby
Ernesto
Florence
Gordon
Helene
Isaac
Joyce
Kirk
Leslie
Michael
Nadine
Oscar
Patty
Rafael
Sara
Tony
Valerie
William
Andrea
Barry
Chantal
Dorian
Erin
Fernand
Gabrielle
Humberto
Imelda
Jerry
Karen
Lorenzo
Melissa
Nestor
Olga
Pablo
Rebekah
Sebastien
Tanya
Van
Wendy
Arthur
Bertha
Cristobal
Dolly
Edouard
Fay
Gonzalo
Hanna
Isaias
Josephine
Kyle
Laura
Marco
Nana
Omar
Paulette
Rene
Sally
Teddy
Vicky
Wilfred
Ana
Bill
Claudette
Danny
Elsa
Fred
Grace
Henri
Ida
Julian
Kate
Larry
Mindy
Nicholas
Odette
Peter
Rose
Sam
Teresa
Victor
Wanda
 

Since 1953, Atlantic tropical storms had been named from lists originated by the National Hurricane Center. They are now maintained and updated through a strict procedure by an international committee of the World Meteorological Organization.

The six lists above are used in rotation and re-cycled every six years, i.e., the 2016 list will be used again in 2022. The only time that there is a change in the list is if a storm is so deadly or costly that the future use of its name on a different storm would be inappropriate for reasons of sensitivity. If that occurs, then at an annual meeting by the WMO committee (called primarily to discuss many other issues) the offending name is stricken from the list and another name is selected to replace it. Several names have been retired since the lists were created. Here is more information the history of naming tropical cyclones and retired names.

If a storm forms in the off-season, it will take the next name in the list based on the current calendar date. For example, if a tropical cyclone formed on December 28th, it would take the name from the previous season's list of names. If a storm formed in February, it would be named from the subsequent season's list of names.

In the event that more than twenty-one named tropical cyclones occur in the Atlantic basin in a season, additional storms will take names from the Greek alphabet.

PREPARING FOR HURRICANES: SAFETY TIPS FOR HOMEOWNERS Jun 12, 2015
WHAT IS A HURRICANE?

A hurricane is a tropical storm that has rotating winds of at least 73 mph, but rarely exceeding 150 mph. Hurricanes are usually accompanied by rain, thunder and lightning. These severe storms, which are spawned by low-pressure depressions moving over warm, tropical waters, originate in the Atlantic Ocean from June to October. In an average year, approximately six Atlantic tropical storms mature into hurricanes. (Hurricanes that originate in the Pacific Ocean are referred to as typhoons.)

WHAT HAPPENS WHEN A HURRICANE MAKES LANDFALL?
Once a hurricane hits land, it loses contact with its primary source of energy, the warm ocean waters, and begins to slow down. As the hurricane passes over land, increased friction contributes to the break-up of the storm. The greatest threat posed from a hurricane is from the heavy rainfall and from flooding caused by the storm surge. However, hurricane-force winds and flying debris can cause extensive damage until they dissipate. Hurricanes can also spawn tornadoes that are extremely dangerous and that contribute to the overall damage. Hurricanes can cause catastrophic damage and potentially large losses of life. In recent years, the death toll from hurricanes has been greatly diminished by timely warnings of approaching storms and by improved programs of public awareness. At the same time, losses from hurricane-related property damage in the United States continue to climb; this is primarily due to an increase in population and construction.

BEFORE A HURRICANE
At the beginning of the hurricane season:
• Establish a preparedness plan that takes prevention, emergencies and communication into consideration.
• Inspect all battery powered equipment and backup power.
• Be sure trees and shrubs around your home are well trimmed so they are more wind resistant.
• Clear loose and clogged rain gutters and downspouts.
• Inspect sewers and drains.
• Check all drainage pumps.
• Inspect the roof and flashing for serviceability.
• Check the landscaping; prune dead branches.
• Have a supply of plastic or tarpaulins on hand to cover water-sensitive equipment.

At the approach of a hurricane:
• Inspect roof drains and piping; are they clear of debris and fully functional?
• Check floor drains and sump-pump; are they clear of debris and fully functional?
• Check all storm water catch basins and grates to be sure they are clear of debris.
• Top off fuel in the emergency generator; test run.
• Move supplies stored outside to inside storage.
• Protect vital records against flooding.

DURING A HURRICANE
• Listen to the radio or TV for information.
• Turn off propane tanks.
• Avoid using the phone, except for serious emergencies.
• Stay indoors during the hurricane and away from windows and glass doors.
• Close all interior doors – secure and brace external doors.
• Take refuge in a small interior room, closet or hallway on the lowest level.
• Lie on floor under a table or another sturdy object.
• Avoid elevators.

AFTER A HURRICANE

• Assess the damage.
• Check for safety hazards (downed trees, branches, downed power wires, leaking gas, blocked roof drains, displaced reptiles).
• Make temporary repairs to protect the structure and supplies.
• Photograph and document any damage.
• Drive only if necessary and avoid flooded roads and washed out bridges. Stay off the streets.
Florida Approves Removal of 93,500 Policies from Citizens Jan 15, 2015
The Florida Office of Insurance Regulation has approved the removal of up to 93,000 personal residential policies and 500 commercial residential polices from Citizens Property Insurance Corp. as part of the state's ongoing effort to reduce the number of policies in the state-created Citizens and transfer them to the private insurance market.

The most recent approved removals include:

  • Anchor Property & Casualty Insurance Co. – approved to remove up to 28,000 personal residential policies (21,352 from the personal lines account (PLA) and 6,648 from the coastal account (CA))
  • Heritage Property & Casualty Insurance Co. – approved to remove up to 20,000 personal residential policies (17,326 PLA/2,674 CA) and up to 500 commercial residential policies (472 commercial lines account (CLA) and 28 CA)
  • Mount Beacon Insurance Co.– approved to remove up to 35,000 personal residential policies (25,000 PLA/10,000 CA)
  • Southern Oak Insurance Co. – approved to remove up to 10,000 personal residential (8,500 PLA/1,500 CA)

Citizen's personal lines and commercial lines accounts are mostly non-coastal properties and the coastal accounts are coastal properties.The take-out periods are March 24, 2015 for personal residential impacting both the PLA/CA policies and March 17, 2015 for commercial residential impacting both the CLA/CA policies.

Today's announcement brings the total number of policies approved for take-outs in 2015 to 409,008. In 2014, the total number of policies approved for take-outs was 1,109,644 and the number of policies removed from Citizens as of December 19 was 416,623. By statute, policyholders may choose to remain covered by Citizens during take-out offers, however, they may be at risk of higher assessments.

Source: Florida Office of Insurance Regulation

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