Volume 5, No. 9 - September 2016

News You Can Use

- Updating you on what's going on

Following Hurricane Hermine, Insurance Scams Reported in Taylor County

As Hurricane Hermine recovery efforts continued, Chief Financial Officer Jeff Atwater and the Department of Financial Services heard reports of insurance scams occurring in Taylor County. The Department worked with Taylor County officials and FDLE to investigate reports of scammers claiming to be Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) officials demanding a $150 deposit in exchange for helping consumers file hurricane-related insurance claims. There is no fee to file a FEMA claim and Floridians who encounter this scam should report it by calling the Department’s Consumer Insurance Helpline at 1-877-693-5236. Consumers can also utilize this helpline to get free help with the filing of hurricane-related insurance claims.

“It’s unconscionable to think someone would lie and cheat their way into profiting off of catastrophe, but unfortunately, it happens,” says CFO Jeff Atwater. “I strongly urge all Floridians to remain vigilant against such scams, and to report all suspicious activity to authorities immediately. My office will thoroughly investigate reports of insurance and financial fraud and will prosecute the offenders to the fullest extent of the law.”

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Office Takes Action on Workers’ Compensation Insurance Rates

After a thorough review of the workers’ compensation insurance rate filing submitted by the National Council on Compensation Insurance (NCCI) and careful consideration of hundreds of public comments and testimony received from interested stakeholders, the Florida Office of Insurance Regulation (Office) has issued an Order that gives contingent approval to an overall combined average statewide rate increase of 14.5% versus the requested 19.6%. Approval of the revised rate increase is contingent on NCCI amending the filing to include the recommended changes stipulated within the Order. As ordered by the Office, the revised rate increase would become effective on December 1, 2016 for new and renewal business, with no change in rates for current in-force policies. The amended rate filing must be filed with the Office for review and approval no later than October 4, 2016.

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Consumer Alert: Office of Insurance Regulation Email Scam Targeting Floridians

The Office of Insurance Regulation (OIR) and the Department of Financial Services (DFS) have been made aware of a scam involving the unauthorized use of Insurance Commissioner David Altmaier’s name and position. A fraudulent email, appearing to be sent from OIR Commissioner Altmaier, has been sent to consumers, notifying them all of the recipient’s insurance policies have be cancelled. OIR does not send notices of cancellation and those who receive this email should disregard the information. Consumers should not click on any links contained with the email message, and should delete the email.

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Florida Office of Financial Regulation Participates in Regional Senior Investor Protection Workshop

The Florida Office of Financial Regulation recently participated in the Securities Industry and Financial Markets Association (SIFMA) Senior Investor Protection Regional Workshop in the St. Petersburg area. Attendees acquired a deeper understanding of how to identify cognitive decline and exploitation to better protect their senior clients and learned more about the reporting process for suspected financial exploitation.

Commissioner Drew J. Breakspear said, “The Florida Office of Financial Regulation remains committed to partnering with financial services industry groups to best serve Floridians and financial professionals. Educating financial professionals about how to identify and report elder abuse, including financial exploitation, is one of the ways we are furthering that mission.”

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Office Releases Final Actuarial Study on PIP Insurance

The Florida Office of Insurance Regulation (Office) released an actuarial study written by Pinnacle Actuarial Resources, Inc. (Pinnacle) that estimates the effect of cost savings realized by insurance companies writing Personal Injury Protection (PIP) auto insurance as a result of reforms from House Bill 119 (HB 119), which passed during the 2012 legislative session. Pinnacle was also asked to look at various scenarios involving premium impacts to Floridians if certain insurance requirements related to PIP were repealed. A copy of the study can be found here.

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Office Issues Citizens Rate Filing Order

The Florida Office of Insurance Regulation (Office) has established the 2017 personal property insurance rates for Citizens Property Insurance Corporation (Citizens). The overall estimated statewide average rate changes are shown in the chart viewable via the link below, and include no rate increases for sinkhole coverage. The Order sets the rates for Citizens Multi-Peril and Coastal Homeowners, Dwelling Fire, Mobile Homeowners and Mobile Homeowners Dwelling Fire lines of business.

On August 18, 2016, the Office held a rate hearing to receive public comment on Citizens’ proposed rate changes. At the hearing, Citizens provided information about various components within its rate filing and identified water loss trends as a key contributing factor for the increasing rate need statewide. Educational awareness efforts directed at policyholders and policy language changes approved by the Office are proactive measures by Citizens to help curb this trend going forward. Citizens also answered questions about pre-event funding (a short-term loan to recover claim costs payable by the Florida Hurricane Catastrophe Fund) and its hurricane loss estimates, which are projections by the Florida Public Hurricane Model and three other models (AIR, RMS, EQE). These are used as the basis for how Citizens derives its recommended rates.

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Make Sure You Don't Miss Important Information From Us

We highly recommend that licensees routinely check their MyProfile account(s) for messages from the Department. We send an email notification at the same time to remind you to check your MyProfile account but on rare occasions you may not receive that email. For that reason, we suggest you add our domains dfs.state.fl.us and MyFloridaCFO.com to your email software's Trusted or Safe Senders List to ensure you are able to receive email notifications from us. Licensees who have a valid email address on file with the Department, as required by law, are sent important email notifications when something that affects their application, license, continuing education, or appointment(s) occurs. Additionally, we will keep you informed with warnings regarding new schemes and scams being marketed to licensees. You can update your contact information through your MyProfile account. We want to keep you informed in a timely manner of pertinent information. You are still required to abide by the Florida Insurance Code regardless of whether you read the information we provide or attempt to provide.