Weather is in the news across the US. In Florida, weather is also in the actions of state insurance authorities. They have conducted an annual stress test of licensed Florida insurers. The encouraging results can add confidence to economic growth projections and the ability to attract new businesses. Casualty and property insurance are important to businesses, and the strength of Florida’s insurance industry helps make Florida a great place to locate a business.
Florida Insurers Pass the Test
The stress test uses the parameters of past events to assess the financial strength of the state’s licensed insurers. This edition of the test also included 2004-2005, the four hurricane year; the state experienced seven major storms over a fifteen month period. The overall strength of Florida’s insurance industry is particularly important because of policy transfers from Citizens Property Insurance to other companies.
Downsizing Citizens Property
The state reinforced Citizens Property with public backing and installed it as an insurer of last resort. At its peak, Citizens Property had 1.5 million policyholders. Today it has approximately 600,000. The State continues its policy of turning over policies to the private sector. The stress test passed by all insurers can give policyholders confidence that their transferred policies will go to a strong company.
The Unheard of Becomes Routine
Weather information suggests that extreme weather events have become more commonplace. The Southeast US is no exception. In South Carolina, there was flooding of epic proportions. The area experienced rainfall and storms that exceeded any events on record. The South Carolina flooding points to another recent event, a study by the James Madison Institute on weather risks in Florida. That study concluded that Florida’s risk exposure to catastrophic storms was greater than the neighboring five states combined. The state insurance regulators used a catastrophic stress test scenario, and more than half, 67 companies, also passed that test.
Responsible Property Owners Prepare
Florida property owners can improve their abilities to handle damage from storm events. The Information Technology at one’s fingertips provides an excellent way to approach claims. Digital records, stored safely away from the home, can be a vital piece of evidence to confirm damages. Using camera technology, one can keep records on a computer with off-site backups. Computer files are an excellent way to store a home or business inventory. One can make a physical inventory before the storms arrive and keep it a safe place such as a cloud-based storage service.
Planning is Helpful
Given the intensity of storms in Florida, planning is a useful action, and it can reduce the time needed for recovery. Property owners should review coverage, deductibles and policy limits with their agency. After a storm event causing damage, property owners should prepare for the adjuster’s inspection by locating all evidence of damage. Property owners should not discard damaged items until after the adjuster’s review.
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