Where the damage is in water-damage claims

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What happens when you let a third party handle your insurance claim? The answer, in a symbol, is $. Insurers have been sounding alarms about assignment of benefits for a couple of years now, and the issue is ever more in the spotlight. A recent editorial suggests it is time to bring water damage abuse under control.

Here’s what’s been happening: A homeowner with a water damage claim is convinced by a contractor to assign the insurance benefits to him. The contractor stands in the shoes, so to speak, of the insured and deals directly with the insurance company. The problem with that is it can make the claim needlessly more expensive because it links in (sometimes needlessly) additional contractors and leads to (oftentimes needless) litigation.

Insurance fraud: good news, bad news

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Last week, at the annual Insurance Summit hosted by the Florida Chamber of Commerce, Florida’s CFO Jeff Atwater said his Bureau of Insurance Fraud arrests an average of four people a day. That’s both good news and bad news. It’s good to put fraudsters out of business since insurance fraud is not a victimless crime; honest people pay more than they need to for insurance since the cost of fraud inflates the cost of claims. But the “bad news” is that fraud fighters have always been kept busy, and they seem to be getting busier.

Just take a look at some of the news stories from the past week.

Old roofs and new rules: Protecting your home from the top

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A so-called 30-year shingle roof does not last 30 years in Florida. Asphalt shingles simply don’t last that long in the brutal Florida sun and with the nearly daily beating from rain over the six months of hurricane season. Some insurers are asking their policyholders to have an older roof inspected; they want a licensed roofer to certify the roof and give it the okay for at least another 3 years of useful life. Other insurance companies may choose to not renew a home insurance policy if a roof is approaching its 20th birthday.

Eight of top 10 most dangerous metros for pedestrians are in Florida

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Walking is definitely good for your health. But it may be dangerous to your life in busy cities, particularly in Florida. A study by Smart Growth America ranked eight Florida metros in the top 10 after analyzing pedestrian deaths over a 10-year period.

The group created a Pedestrian Danger Index to compare pedestrian safety in cities of different size, density, and rates of walking. So, it’s not only a factor of big cities with more cars and more walking. The study contends it is also due to “poor pedestrian infrastructure,” meaning roads are designed to move cars along with little thought to people traveling on foot.

About football champions, a legacy of love, and life insurance

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Former Tampa Bay Buccaneer Warrick Dunn has a legion of fans, and they are not only football fans. The man has amassed fans for his charity work, particularly with Habitat for Humanity. How he got involved is a story in and of itself.

Two days after Dunn’s 18th birthday, his mother was shot and killed in a robbery. She was a single mother and a police officer, who was working off-duty escorting someone to the bank to make a large deposit when the armed robbery occurred. Dunn was the eldest of six children, and he took on the responsibility to provide for his five siblings. One of his first actions was to use the proceeds from his mother’s life insurance policy to buy a home for the family to provide them with stability. He knew a stable environment matters – greatly. His work with Habitat involves providing homes for single mothers to bring that stability to others and to honor his mother.

Among the many beneficiaries of Dunn’s generosity is Clemson’s Deshaun Watson, who threw the winning pass Monday night to win the College Football Playoffs. Check out this story from last night’s CBS Evening News on how a former NFL great helped Clemson’s champion.

It helps to answer the question about why you should buy life insurance. It’s about love. And, it’s about a legacy of love.

A (single) winter day in Florida

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It doesn’t dip below freezing very often in Florida (which is just the way we like it!). When it does, a refresher is in order on what precautions to take so cold temperatures don’t put a freeze on your budget due to costly repairs that could have been avoided. Check out our cold weather survival tips.

Most homeowners insurance policies cover damage from freezing conditions. It’s always best to prevent the damage in the first place, of course. Parts of the Florida Panhandle dipped below freezing over the weekend, and that could occur again in the coming weeks. Cold-weather warnings prompted me to buy all my outdoor faucets a hoodie (see photo above). For about $3 a faucet, it’s a good investment in preparedness, especially since you have to disconnect the hose to slip it on. Freezing temps can cause water locked inside garden hoses to expand and burst – and the cost of those hoses is not covered by insurance.

Frost on the ground in the morning, and in the mid-50s by mid afternoon. Gotta love it!