Friday, April 20, 2007


Industry net income rose to $63.7-BB in 2006 from $44.2-BB in 2005, according to the Property Casualty Insurers Assn. Most of the improvement, they said, was because of fewer catastrophic storms in 2006 than in 2005. Profits were also boosted by stronger underwriting gains, which are premiums minus losses and admin expenses. While a highly active hurricane season was predicted for 2006, it gave insurers much-needed time to recover from the six 2005 catastrophic hurricanes. Chief Economist, of the PCIAA, Genio Staranczak, said that insurers need to worry about future storms. Increased property values, growing population and a threat of more frequent and severe storms in high risk areas of the US create a financial problem the nation must deal with. Colorado State U experts predict that the 2007 Atlantic hurricane season will be very active with 9 hurricanes.

Thursday, April 12, 2007


1000+ realtors are in Tallahassee for the FAR (FL Association of Realtors) convention, and meeting with local senators and representatives on property tax reform, affordable housing, property insurance and other housing issues.

On tap:
…Senate is expected to release its property tax reform package shortly
…Senate Banking Committee and Insurance Committee Chairman rolled out property tax insurance reform bills (each of which have been approved during the proceedings)
…Another bill deals with hurricane mitigation
…Gov. Charlie Christ is supporting bill SB-2498 to allow homeowners to opt for coverage from the state-run insurer if they have an offer from a private insurer that’s 15% higher than the premium charged by Citizens. Homeowners would be allowed to stay with Citizens regardless of the rate offered by a private market insurance company & the bill will require the Office of Insurance Regulation to take into consideration the profits of parent companies when approving insurance rates
… The Senate Regulated Industries committee unanimously passed SB 2234 to provide licensure and regulation of home inspectors, mold assessors and remediators, but exempt from law: engineers, architects, building code administrators, real estate appraisers and fire safety inspectors. Licensure would be required for completion of a 120-hour course of study, and require 14 hours of continuing ed every 2 years.
…Gov. Christ signed legislation that could double the additional homestead exemption available to low-income seniors. HB333 implements a constitutional amendment approved by voters that increases the local option for the homestead exemption from $25,000 to $50,000 for individuals age 65 and older whose income does not exceed $23,414 in 2007.

Thursday, April 05, 2007


During January’s special session to address the property insurance crisis in Florida, Senate Bill1980 and House Bill 1-A contained a rating system to score homes on a scale of 1 to 100 for their ability to withstand severe wind damage from storms. The Florida Insurance Commissioner said that “the adoption of a uniform scoring system for home safety is long overdue.” This plan is yet to be approved by lawmakers.


Forecasters from the Tropical Meteorology Project at Colorado State University say that with El Nino weakening, the 2007 hurricane season will be very active... and will include 17 named storms for the season between June 1 and November 30. Included, they predict, will be 9 hurricanes, 5 of which are expected to be major with sustained surface winds of at least 111 mph. However, the season, they say, will not be as active as 2004 and 2005 when hurricanes caused billions of dollars worth of damage in Florida, and days or weeks without power for millions of residents. They predict there is a 50% chance of at least one major hurricane hitting land along the east coast, including the Florida peninsula.

El Nino occurs when weak easterly trade winds allow warmer waters of the western Pacific to migrate east. The accompanying vertical wind shear stunts the formation of hurricanes. In the end of May this team will update their predictions.