Tallahassee, Fla. — Following this year’s active hurricane season, the Property Casualty Insurers Association of America (PCI) will be encouraging public policymakers to explore ways to better protect consumers from contractor fraud and litigation abuses that frequently occur following major storms.
The 2016 Atlantic Hurricane Season went into the history books as the most active year since 2012. Multiple large hurricanes and tropical storms impacted the Southeast, including Hurricane Hermine the first hurricane to make landfall in Florida in more than a decade. Of the 16 named storms, there were seven hurricanes. While only three were considered major, Hurricanes Matthew, Nicole and Gaston, all of these storms brought intense rains, causing significant damage and flooding to most of the Southeastern United States.
The first hurricane occurred very early with Hurricane Alex bringing heavy rains and hurricane-force winds to parts of Bermuda and Cuba in January. Hurricane Hermine was a major rainmaker in August, impacting the Bahamas, parts of Cuba, the Dominican Republic and the Florida Keys. It resulted in just under $400 million in insured losses according to Risk Management Services (RMS). The most damaging storm of the year was Hurricane Matthew, which brought massive damages to most of the Southeast in October. According to AIR Worldwide, this record-breaking hurricane resulted in nearly $8.8 billion in insured losses with up to $6.8 billion occurring in the United States.
“As a result of the active hurricane season, there are many communities in the Southeast that are still dealing with the aftermath of these storms,” said Chris Hackett, PCI senior director of personal lines policy. “The insurance industry has been on the ground helping residents recover and will continue to partner with these communities through the rebuilding process. This year highlights the importance of always being prepared and ensuring residents have the proper coverage for their homes and businesses. The increase in storm activity also puts a spotlight on the need to curb abuses from unscrupulous individuals and companies that capitalize on consumers during a time of need."
"In Florida, we have experienced a sharp increase in assignment of benefits (AOB) claims and lawsuits, which drive up costs and put financial strain on Florida consumers," continued Hackett. "It is imperative that our state leaders consider these reforms that will help curb AOB abuse and alleviate pressure on Florida’s insurance system.”
"The widespread flooding this year is also a reminder that consumers need to know that flood insurance is not covered by standard homeowners’ policies. PCI recommends consumers review the coverage provided by the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) and assess if it is right for them to purchase. Typically, there is a 30-day waiting period for this coverage between the date of purchase and when flood coverage goes into effect, so being prepared ahead of time is essential, ” concluded Hackett.
A few inches of water can cause thousands of dollars in damage, proof that it’s never too late to protect your property by purchasing flood insurance. Flood insurance is available through the NFIP by visiting http://www.floodsmart.gov/floodsmart/ or calling 800-427-4661.
PCI 5 Simple Steps to Prepare Now
1.)Review and assess your insurance policy
2.)Develop your emergency and evacuation plan
3.)Practice your plan with your family
4.)Prepare your home
5.)Create a home inventory
PCI has a wide range of resources available at www.pciaa.net. Follow us on Twitter @PCIAA and use #HaveAPlan to keep the conversation going.