Make today an action day: America’s PrepareAthon!

April 30 preparationA

Twice a year, FEMA promotes a grass-roots campaign to get communities to up their preparedness against natural disasters. Today, April 30 is the springtime event for America’s PrepareAthon! The title of the event includes the exclamation point (!), so that’s how important it is! And !!

No joke. Preparing for emergencies takes a community, and it starts with you. First step is to Know Your Hazards. There are six of them listed. One is winter storms, and as a Floridian, you can strike that off the list. But that leaves a handful — hurricanes top the list, of course.

Why spend a lovely, calm spring Saturday preparing for a dreaded summer hurricane? That is a rhetorical question. Here are 10 Ways to Participate. Among the tips is to document your personal property and to know what your home insurance covers. You can do those two important steps right now. Today. It’s America’s PrepareAthon! Award yourself an exclamation point.

What the…..? Hail in Florida!

HailstormA

The Sunshine State and golf ball-size hail go together like hot sauce on ice cream (a taste treat some might think is not a bad idea….). Parts of South Florida got hit with the unfamiliar icy pounding last week, when hail damage was reported in six states.  Hail hit Orlando hard last month, bringing almost a foot of slushy melting crystals and turning the earth into a winter wonderland, of sorts, over the Easter weekend. The last time such a large hailstorm hit the area was in 1992.

Damage from hail causes about $1 billion dollars a year in losses to crops and property.

Cheaper gas fuels more driving, more car crashes, higher auto insurance cost

wrecked-car-4A

Drivers everywhere continue to enjoy the benefits of low gas prices, and what are they doing to celebrate? They are driving more. It’s less costly to take a road trip now, rather than fly to another destination, so more drivers are taking to the streets. More cars on the road increase the number of traffic crashes which, in turn, translates into higher auto insurance rates.

Uber and out for ride-share bill

ride shareA

Since the birth of technology-based transportation networking companies, such as Uber and Lyft, 29 states have passed legislation to address the insurance coverage gap that exists. Florida is not one of them. For the third straight year, the Legislature put the ride-sharing bill into park.

Commercial ride-sharing is gaining in popularity. Many states have adopted model legislation to address the gap in auto insurance coverage that exists. The gap occurs when a ride-share driver is “on the clock” to pick up a fare and when a passenger gets into the car. If a car crash happens along the way, that driver would be on his own dime. And, most of those drivers are unaware of this.

Florida homeowners pay highest property insurance premiums because state still owns #1 position for disasters

house prices

Guest Blog by James Lynch, FCAS MAAA
Chief Actuary and VP of Data and Information Services

Here’s a question we get every year: Why does Florida have the most expensive homeowners insurance in the nation? The answer is easy: It is the riskiest state to write homeowners insurance.

The average Florida homeowners policy cost $2,115 in 2013, according to a report released last week by the National Association of Insurance Commissioners. That’s highest in the land. Texas is No. 2 ($1,837), and Louisiana is No. 3 ($1,822). We have a ranking of the states at the Insurance Information Institute web site.

Hit-and-run crashes still problematic

HandRgraphic-560

Hit-and-run crashes in Florida are holding steady; it is the same challenging problem it always has been. The Florida Highway Patrol reports more than 92,000 hit-and-run crashes in 2015. Those crashes brought 19,000 injuries and 186 fatalities. More than half of those fatalities were pedestrians.

Why do people run away from a crash scene? More often than not, they have had too much to drink and should not have been behind the wheel. Or, they may have a suspended license or let their auto insurance lapse, which is illegal, by the way.

Florida law requires drivers to stop immediately for any car crash in which there is injury to another person. Violating this law is a third degree felony punishable with up to a five-year prison stint (and a mandatory minimum of four years).

Owning up to your mistakes has always been the honorable thing to do. That doesn’t mean it’s always the easy thing to do. But it is – and always will be – the right thing to do.