Articles Posted in Hurricane Insurance

As we head into the home stretch of hurricane season 2014, Florida and most of the Gulf Coast can begin to breathe a collective sigh of relief. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and other institutions calculated that the Atlantic would see a considerably slower hurricane season this year – which runs from June 1st through November 30th – and thus far their prediction seems to be coming true. In total, 13 tropical storms were scheduled to form with no more than two becoming significant threats to the coastline – which fortunately has not yet come to pass.

However, Administrative Director of NOAA Kathryn Sullivan reminded a crowd in Brooklyn earlier this month that it only takes one storm to cause massive amounts of damage – citing Hurricane Sandy as the prime example of a late season powerhouse that caused untold amounts of damage to the Jersey coastline and much of downtown New York City. Additionally Joseph Nimmich, of the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) reminded everyone that “There is not one of us who can withstand the surge and protect their house when it is under attack by nature. If you’re in your house when it’s being devastated and call 911, we are unable to help you.”
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The Jacksonville newspaper, the Florida Times Union takes a complete look in an article at the crisis of property insurance in the state. All it could take is for one major hurricane to hit a large metropolitan area, such as Miami, for the state to boost taxes on insurance policies and take out billions in debt as our state-backed insurance plans fall short.

Funding that kind of debt would be difficult, causing an increase in taxes on almost everything and a debt that could take years to repay. Some even predict bankruptcy from a major hurricane.
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State Farm Insurance has done a lot of threatening lately. The insurance giant wants to leave Florida because of the downside of having to pay claims in case there is another hurricane this season.

State Farm proposed a 47 percent statewide rate increase in property insurance to stay in the state, according to an account. Last week the 1st District Court of Appeal in Tallahassee upheld a decision last December to reject that outrageous hike, joining the state Office of Insurance Regulation.
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State Farm’s property insurance division has been threatening to leave the state and homeowners without options, while leaving the more lucrative auto insurance business in the state. Now, according to an article, Florida’s Insurance Commission says State Farm may not leave Florida. Commissioner Kevin McCarty said Thursday it was his “gut feeling” even though the insurance giant was not allowed to raise its rates by up to 67 percent last January by an administrative law judge.

This news leaves 1.2 million Floridians with a huge unanswered question – where will they turn? The more insurance options there are to choose from, the better competitive pricing options one generally has. Gov. Charlie Crist was considering allowing a property insurance bill to become law which would have allowed property insurers to charge anything they want to insurer properties against hurricanes, but last month he vetoed the bill, citing the new smaller insurance companies that have come in to assume about 400,000 homeowner policies. State Farm is pinning its hopes on an override of the veto, which would have to be done in a special session of the state legislature.
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June marks the beginning of Hurricane season in Florida. Northeast Florida says a little prayer every year that we will be spared and so far we have been.

Surveys show only half of us are ready for Hurricane Season stocked with supplies. Last year the state legislature decided to end the Hurricane Sales Tax Holiday that saves us all money when we buy bottled water, flashlight batteries, and canned goods and gets us in the spirit of preparedness.

Last year there were 16 named storms and five major hurricanes between June 1 and November 30th.

This year, forecasters say that there could be nine to 14 tropical storms and up to seven hurricanes with a few major ones among the group, which is normal.
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