Chuck Grimsley: Get the facts on homeowners’ insurance changes

Jul 14, 2011

The following article was published in the Palm Beach Post on July 14, 2011:

Letters:  Get the facts on homeowners’ insurance changes

The June 27 article “Uptick in home­owners insurance ‘only the beginning’ for soaring rates” contained misleading statements and omissions.

First, filings for homeowner policy rate increases have limits that vary by region; the article said there are no caps. Second, Senate Bill 408 does not require policyholders to “pay up front.” Insurance companies must initially pay the actual cash value of the loss, minus any deductible, prior to any repairs. Companies then provide additional payments for repairs, if needed, as work is performed and expenses are incurred. If there is a total loss, companies must pay the entire replacement cost of the dwelling, up front.

The article also wrongfully suggested that rate increases are being approved unjustly and that there is no purpose for the Office of Insurance Regulation (OIR). The OIR rules allow insurance companies a profit of 3.7 percent on rate increases. According to OIR data, the average policy premium has fallen from a high of about $1,900 in mid-2007 to less than $1,800 at the end of 2010, due in part to the double discount on windstorm premiums that former Gov. Charlie Crist ordered. In fact, the cost of insurance has fallen almost 30 percent, from $5.25 per $1,000 of insured value in 2006 to less than $4 per $1000 insured in 2010, according to reports filed with the OIR.

The article neglected to explain the rise in the frequency and severity of claims. According to ISO, which keeps track of insurance risk, since 2007 the frequency of claims has risen by more than 25 percent, and the severity of claims has risen by more than 43 percent. A contributing factor to this is increases in sinkhole claims and fraud.

Finally, the article quoted state legislators who portrayed 408 as “onerous.” The law was designed to curb claims abuse, to keep insurance companies solvent and to ensure a healthy, competitive home insurance marketplace in Florida. SB 408 is a first step toward correcting Florida’s insurance marketplace. We’ll begin to see a reduction in claim fraud, more control over spiraling sinkhole claims and fewer neighborhoods with damaged homes left unrepaired.



Editor’s note: Charles J. Grimsley is chairman and president of the Florida Property & Casualty Association.

Vero’s experience should inform Lake Worth re: FPL

According to your article, “FPL would discuss buying Lake Worth power company if asked,” some of the candidates who ran for mayor of Lake Worth were touting the sale of the city’s utility to FPL, claiming that it would lead to lower electric rates. Their “quick fix” is ill-considered and misleading. Evidence of the benefits of municipal power exists just north of us, in Vero Beach.

Like Lake Worth, Vero Beach was under contract to buy power from the Florida Municipal Power Agency, as Lake Worth has been doing. Vero exited that contract in January 2010. Almost immediately, Vero consumers saw their bills drop almost 30 percent and remain so, even including an expected rise of 3.7 percent next month. Lake Worth also is leaving the FMPA.

Also like Lake Worth, unfortunately, certain Vero Beach politicians (against the advice of their own consultants and attorneys) are rushing to sell their plant to FPL – even though Vero’s city auditors say that will cause property-tax rates to double, and despite the fact that FPL refuses to guarantee Vero Beach better rates than they now have. Go figure.


Lake Worth

Cerabino’s priorities squirrelly

I was disappointed but not surprised when Frank Cerabino belittled Tom Rooney for his efforts to address the python problem (a threat to all wildlife) in his column “Big snakes worry congressman – pollution doesn’t,” and the very next day did a half-page article on a squirrel gone wild (“Squirrel tiff leads to costly ER experience.”

In the same article, he glossed over and joked about former Congressman Anthony Weiner, an online predator/flasher, as if it was no big deal. Talk about strange priorities.


Delray Beach

Cerabino’s views on politics belong in Opinion, if anywhere

The Bill Maher of The Palm Beach Post, Frank Cerabino, should stick with humor and not expound his “lack of wisdom” into the world of politics. He is not an authority on the subject.

Instead of giving the news in an unbiased fashion and letting your reader make his or her decision, you give a very slanted left view throughout much of the paper. Don’t treat your readers as if they can’t think for themselves. It’s insulting. Just the facts from both sides. And as far as Mr. Cerabino goes – and don’t be flattered by my comparison to Bill Maher, because as much as I dislike Mr. Maher, he is way more intelligent and talented – his articles containing his one-sided slanted opinions without all the facts should go in the Opinion section and not main part of the paper.

This is logical and makes a lot of sense, so I know I am probably talking to deaf ears at The Palm Beach Post.


Hobe Sound

Tea party elected us a king

Rick Scott is “The Man Who Would Be King.” Oh, I mean governor. What is he thinking by touting draconian cuts to the Department of Children and Families and educational programs throughout Florida, while more than doubling appropriations to his office?

When children need the assistance of government more than any in the past 40 years, King Scott only looks to increase the coffers of his own rich friends. He is by far the saddest example of a governor this state has ever had, one that by his company’s thievery of the Medicare system should be in a federal facility, not the Governor’s Mansion. Perhaps he can turn it into a castle while in office. It’s pretty ironic that the tea party elected a monarch.


Palm Beach Gardens

Don’t blame the doctors

“Troubled doctors hired to treat kids” was another libelous article published in your rag attacking hardworking doctors who are put into impossible situations in Florida’s jails. I hope your rag and your hack writer are sued. And why does The Post keep protecting the politicians who keep closing the mental hospitals and dumping mentally ill children into the jails? They are then mixed with violent offenders, and the doctors have to deal with this explosive situation. But the hack writer has the answer, and that is to blame the doctors.


West Palm Beach

Kudos to forward-thinking PBAU for irrigation system

The Post’s article on the soil moisture monitoring irrigation system installed at Palm Beach Atlantic University (“PBAU taps ‘smart irrigation’ “) is important for South Florida.

As water use becomes a bigger story, it is nice to see some outside-the-box thinking. Without rain, one day of watering per week is insufficient for our turf in summer, and a demand system that conserves even during good times is something we should all know about. Landscapes can be very costly to maintain but are even more costly to replace. In an environment that functions on a tuition-driven operating budget, higher costs mean higher tuition, but this applies to any business and equates to added costs.

Who would want to come to dry, brown South Florida? At some point, the city’s code enforcement, neighborhood associations, etc. will be requiring replacement of all that dead plant material, and homeowners and businesses will bear that cost in an already lousy economy.


West Palm Beach

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