School is out here are a few Florida summer tips

It’s finally summer, school has ended and many of you are thinking about your summer vacations. Before you leave your house for some relaxation, you should turn off the water to your home to avoid any of these common plumbing disasters we see this time of year.

Burst toilet water supply line or washing machine hoses:

Even when you’re not home water is running through your home. Sometimes a water line can fail at the toilet or washing machine and cause water to begin pouring out and if you’re not home water will pour out of the broken line until the water is shut off. If you’re not home this can cause major flooding damage.

Water heater leaks:

If you have a tank water heater there is the potential for your water heater to leak since water is still stored in the tank. You may want to also lower the temperature to save energy so you’re not heating water while you’re away and not using it.

Broken sprinkler lines:

A broken pipe in your sprinkler system will cause water to flow until the water has been turned off. If you’re not home this can go unnoticed until it floods your yard.

Faucets and other water lines in your home:

The above water issues are the most common areas we see fail. However, you have water going to multiple locations in your home. Water is sitting in those pipes ready to be used when you turn on a faucet. If these water supply lines are corroded they can leak or break and will allow water to flow like an open faucet until the water is turned off to the home.

Understanding Water pressure

Unless you turn off the water coming into your home, water will sit in the lines ready to be used at a moment’s notice from any faucet, toilet or any water-using appliance. If any of those lines fail from age, wear and tear, or corrosion and breaks, water will flow out at the normal pressure as if a faucet is turned on until the water is shut off. We have seen many homes where this happens when homeowners are out of town and it can cause a lot of damage to your home if the water isn’t shut off and continues to flow.

DECLARE YOUR INDEPENDENCE

As your independent insurance agent, we will help you evaluate and compare the products of several insurance companies to help you find the insurance solution that best meets your needs. Our family has served the insurance needs of our friends and clients in SW Florida since 1980. We will work to explain all of your options in plain English. And help you make the choices that are right for you.

Plus, if you ever need to file a claim, we will be right there with you to guide you through the process. And as life changes, you can count on us to help you update those choices. If you have any questions or would like to connect today, please don’t hesitate to contact us through our personal information below.

9 tips for staying safe on a motorcycle

May is Motorcycle Safety Awareness Month, designed to encourage all drivers and motorcyclists to share the road with each other. Increased awareness of motorcycle safety has helped improve the number of injuries and fatalities of motorcyclists.

In 2014, 4,586 motorcyclists were killed in traffic crashes, a decrease of 2.3% from 4,692 in 2013. Those deaths account for 14% of the total highway fatalities that year. This decrease in motorcycle fatalities continues to break a tragic trend over the last 17 years, which saw only one other decline in 2009. Injured motorcyclists also decreased from 93,000 in 2013 to 88,000 in 2014.
Read the full article here!

Fraud Prevention Month

Every day in Florida, fake auto accidents result in millions of dollars in fake insurance claims being paid. Who pays for these claims? You do–in the form of higher insurance premiums. Personal Injury Protection (PIP) fraud is a serious crime with consequences. When someone commits auto insurance fraud, you pay the price. Auto insurance fraud can cost you and your family hundreds of dollars a year in higher insurance costs.

The Division of Insurance Fraud has eight dedicated PIP squads and more than 40 detectives to rein in these crimes and arrest the persons involved in fraud. Florida now has dedicated prosecutors throughout the state to handle PIP fraud, and the courts are sentencing persons convicted of insurance fraud to prison. Our goal is to promote a level of consistency in prosecutions to take a tougher stand against fraud, and impose harsher sanctions, including jail, fines, and licensing sanctions.

We are working to increase public awareness of insurance fraud, the seriousness of this crime and its impact on the community as a whole, and educate people about the potential penalties they face for participating in this activity. The Division of Insurance Fraud will pay up to $25,000 reward for information leading to the arrest and conviction of persons involved in insurance fraud.

If you see something, say something. Call the Florida Department of Financial Services Insurance Fraud Hotline at 1-800-378-0445 to report a crime.insurance1

Florida Insurance Fraud watch out!

Eleanor, a Delray Beach resident, and Stearns, who lives in Tampa, both suffered emergency water leaks in their homes. Both opened the yellow pages and called a home repair vendor with a big advertisement whom they didn’t know. Both were then asked by the vendor to sign over all the rights and benefits of their homeowners’ insurance policies before the vendor would clean up the flooding.

Miami Insurance Agent Arrested for $167K Overbilling Scam

The Florida Department of Financial Services’ Division of Insurance Fraud (DIF) announced the arrest of Darley Caridad Carballeira, 50, for her involvement in a scam in which she allegedly overbilled Key International Inc. more than $167,000 during the sale of at least nine insurance policies. On top of inflating the policy amounts to gain a profit, Carballeira allegedly financed the insurance policies, which enabled her to pocket the upfront premium amount, leaving Key International to pay the additional monthly payments to keep the policies current.

The investigation revealed that, for more than three years, Carballeira allegedly overbilled Key International Inc. by inflating quoted prices for insurance policies. For example, if the quoted price for a policy was $46,000, she charged the company $67,000. DIF found Carballeira did this on at least three occasions. Carballeira overbilled the company $3,100 on the first bill, overbilled $11,000 on the second, and nearly $21,000 on the third billing.

After the fictitious insurance premiums were paid by Key International in full, Carballeira allegedly decided to finance the original policy amounts without Key International’s knowledge. Signatures were forged to finalize the financing documents and mailing addresses were altered to prevent Key International from receiving any notices on the recent financing of their insurance premiums. In total, Darley Carballeira stole more than $167,000.

The case began when Key International Inc. became suspicious and approached the Department’s Division of Agent and Agency Services with a series of information regarding their allegations against Carballeira. The Division of Agent and Agency Services launched a partnered investigation with the Division of Insurance Fraud into the day-to-day operations of the Miami insurance company where Carballeira worked, Insurance Consultants of Dade, Inc.

Carballeira was apprehended on charges including first degree grand theft, misappropriated funds, and uttering forged documents. This case will be prosecuted by the office of Miami-Dade County State Attorney Katherine Fernandez Rundle, and if convicted, Carballeira faces up to 30 years in prison.

Source: Florida Department of Financial Services

Tower Hill Prime Insurance Company (Gainesville, FL) Strength rating A-

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

OLDWICK – JUNE 08, 2015
A.M. Best has assigned a financial strength rating of A- (Excellent) and an issuer credit rating of “a-” to Tower Hill Prime Insurance Company (Tower Hill Prime) (Gainesville, FL). The outlook assigned to both ratings is stable.

The ratings assigned to Tower Hill Prime reflect the company’s strong capitalization, long history as a writer of personal residential business in Florida, established relationships with an extensive network of agencies in its operating territories and expertise in the underwriting and servicing of personal property products. The company’s property business exposure to weather-related catastrophe losses is significant; however, it is effectively mitigated through the use of extensive reinsurance that addresses severity and frequency. According to management’s business development plans and catastrophe-modeled exposure analysis, the reinsurance coverage reduces the net after-tax PML (probable maximum loss) from a 100-year hurricane event to a level that puts marginal stress on the capitalization of the company. The company is led by a management team that has a track record of generating strong results and possesses extensive knowledge of the Florida property market.

Negative rating factors include the extensive catastrophic risk exposure and high dependence on reinsurance as evidenced by the company’s elevated gross leverage. However, the associated credit risk related to the company’s reliance on third-party reinsurance recoverables is somewhat mitigated by the credit quality of its reinsurers and the collateralization of some recoverables. Furthermore, as the company’s new business growth is currently concentrated in a single state, there is execution risk as the business development plans are implemented, as well as competitive market conditions and the influence that regulatory and legislative actions in the state may have on management’s plans and strategies.

Future positive rating action could occur if Tower Hill Prime generates a trend of strong underwriting income, operating returns, surplus growth and reduced reinsurance dependence while increasing its level of risk-adjusted capitalization, as measured by Best’s Capital Adequacy Ratio (BCAR). Negative rating action may occur following a material deterioration in operating performance, unexpected and material decline in risk-adjusted capitalization, or an increased dependence on reinsurance.

The methodology used in determining these ratings is Best’s Credit Rating Methodology, which provides a comprehensive explanation of A.M. Best’s rating process and contains the different rating criteria employed in the rating process. Best’s Credit Rating Methodology can be found at www.ambest.com/ratings/methodology.

  • Key insurance criteria reports utilized
  • :Analyzing Insurance Holding Company Liquidity
  • Catastrophe Analysis in A.M. Best Ratings
  • Evaluating U.S. Surplus Notes
  • Rating Members of Insurance Groups
  • Risk Management and the Rating Process for Insurance Companies
  • Understanding BCAR for Property/Casualty Insurers

This press release relates to rating(s) that have been published on A.M. Best’s website. For all rating information relating to the release and pertinent disclosures, including details of the office responsible for issuing each of the individual ratings referenced in this release, please visit A.M. Best’s Ratings & Criteria Center .

A.M. Best Company is the world’s oldest and most authoritative insurance rating and information source

Floirda doctor’s office made hundreds of thousands of dollars treating fake patients

A two-year investigation culminated in a raid on a medical clinic in Tampa Florida. State agents arrested both staff and patients on felony fraud charges. ABC Action News was the only station invited for a ride along and an inside look at the case. Investigators figure the doctor’s office made hundreds of thousands of dollars treating fake patients. It is the type of fraud that costs every single driver in Florida.

THE 10 MISTAKES EVERYONE SHOULD AVOID WHEN PURCHASING HOMEOWNERS INSURANCE!

Purchasing homeowners insurance in Florida can be confusing. Getting the help of anindependent agent is a wise decision, but you should also have a basic understanding of what’s important. We asked our agents and employees what mistakes they often see homeowners make when purchasing insurance. Here’s a list of the top responses:

1. Only Focusing on Price

Price is one of the variables consumers seem to focus on when considering which company best fits their needs. Many people look for the cheapest homeowners insurance they can find. Make sure your “cheap” policy isn’t less expensive because important coverage has been removed or because the company has inadequate reinsurance.

Here are a few questions to ask when evaluating an insurance company:

  • Is this company licensed to operate in the state? It’s safer to buy from a company licensed in your state, because then you can rely on your Office of Insurance Regulation to help if there’s a problem. You can check to see if a company is licensed HERE.
  • Is this company financially stable? A Florida insurance company should have a financial stability rating (FSR) from Demotech, Inc. Most mortgage companies will require a FSR of A or better. You can check to see a company’s rating HERE.
  • What kind of service will I get? This is a little harder to evaluate. First, you can check to see if the company is a member of the Better Business Bureau and what their rating is. Second, you can check the number of official complaints a company has on file compared to their volume of business with the Office of Insurance Regulation HERE. Last, ask your agent, friends and family!

2. Purchasing a Policy for the Wrong Occupancy

Who is living in your home directly determines the type of policy you should have. If the occupancy type changes at any time the policy needs to be updated as well. There is a different policy type for people who own and live in their home, own a home which they are renting out, or even people who own a home whichnobody lives in. In some instances, your claim won’t be covered if you have the wrong policy type for your occupancy. This is because each of these situations carries its own unique risks and is priced for those risks.

3. Not Understanding Exclusions to Your Policy

If your insurance policy covered everything you wouldn’t be able to afford it! Your homeowner’s policy is meant to protect you in the event of a major – or even semi-major disaster, but does not respond as a warranty plan. Take the time to understand, from a comprehensive level, what is and is not covered. Your agent can help you with this. Below are some common exclusions, but you should consult your agency and policy documents to fully understand any coverage, terms, conditions, limits, and exclusions.

  • Normal wear and tear
  • Damage that developed slowly over time
  • Damage caused by neglect
  • Damage resulting from a flood, earthquake, or aggressive dog attacks

4. Thinking Flood Insurance is Included

Many people are not aware that a standard Florida homeowner’s insurance policy does not include flood coverage. Flood insurance covers your property and/or contents against storm surges and flooding during torrential rains, hurricanes and tropical storms. Flood insurance can be bought through the National Flood Insurance Program. Your insurance agent can help you learn more about whether it makes sense for you. There is a 30-day waiting period required before a flood policy will go into effect, so it is important not to buy this coverage at the last minute.

5. Only Insuring Your Home for the Amount You Owe Your Mortgage Company

Your mortgage company is only concerned with protecting their asset. Let’s say you own a home that is worth $300,000, but you only owe $50,000 to the mortgage company. Your mortgage company will only require you to purchase $50,000 in insurance coverage. Obviously, $50,000 in insurance is a lot less expensive than $300,000, but what if you have a total loss? You will only receive a check for $50,000 and it goes straight to the bank – nothing for you!

6. Choosing “Actual Cash Value” over “Replacement Cost”

When you experience a loss, Actual Cash Value will only provide you reimbursement for the “book value” of the item. In many cases an old couch, table, or computer is worth next to nothing so you would receive next to nothing. If you select “Replacement Cost” you will be given a brand new replacement of that item without any deduction for depreciation.

7. Reducing Coverage to Lower Premium

People often make the mistake of reducing the amount of coverage in an attempt to bring down their premium. A better approach would be to carry strong coverage and simply raise your deductible. You still have a lower premium and you get to keep your robust coverage. For example, in the event of a large loss, you will only be “out-of-pocket” a deductible of, say, $1000 or $2500 – instead of being out $175,000 to replace all the contents of your home.

Here are some other steps you can take to reduce your premium:

  • Make your home more disaster resistant – In Florida, homeowners can qualify for a windstorm premium discount if the home has wind resistant features.
  • Improve your home security – Most insurance companies will offer a discount to homeowners with a home security system.
  • Install a fire alarm – Fire alarms save lives and money on your homeowners insurance! Make sure your insurance company knows if you have a fire alarm.
  • Review your policy limits – If you’ve paid for special higher limits on personal property that you no longer have you’ll want to reduce limits or eliminate the special coverage all together.
  • Insure the cost to rebuild your home NOT the market value – Your insurance does not cover the land under your house. If you include the value of your land you will pay a much higher premium than you should. Basically, you should insure what it would cost to rebuild your home NOT the market value.

8. Thinking Your Policy Will Cover Someone Else’s Personal Property

If you are renting out your home and those occupying it experience a loss to their personal property your “landlord” policy will most likely not cover this loss. Your tenants need to have her/his own renters policy to cover their personal property and liability.

9. Shopping Around For a New Policy When Premiums Go Up

People are often encouraged to “shop your homeowner’s policy if the premium goes up.” All insurance companies add a small inflation guard to keep your coverage up to date with inflation of building products. If you feel your premium went up more than slightly, ask your agent for a coverage review. Sometimes the coverage to replace your home needs to be adjusted, or you may find coverage you can replace with one you needed more – offsetting the price. A carrier will always take into consideration how much history you have with them if you need extra time to make a payment, or if you have other special circumstances.

10. Buying a Policy Directly Without an Agent

First, insurance is a complicated, important contract and should be fine-tuned to an individual customer’s needs – not just a “one size fits all” approach. Independent agents are required by their state to be licensed and continually educated on all aspects of insurance. They can communicate the important details to you, so you can make an informed decision. Second, Independent agents can compare differences in price and coverage across many companies. Third, when you act on your own, without an agent, you are also on your own if you make mistakes in your coverage. Last, most agents sell many types of insurance policies so you can easily purchase home, auto, life and much more in one stop.

Are you looking for a diminishing deductible?

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Are you a save driver? Do you live in Florida? Are you looking for a way to save on insurance?

Safeco Diminishing Deductible, click for details then contact us today!