Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Car Insurance, After the accident.

Please do the following things after an auto accident to avoid unnecessary problems with your claim. almost always the process goes smooth but some of it relies on you.

1) Do not discuss the details of the accident with anyone but your Insurance company and/or attorney if you feel it necessary to contact one.

a) If you do contact an attorney you are effectively cutting your agent out of the process, so understand this when you contact the agent, he can be brought into a lawsuit if he gives you advice that goes contrary to the attorney. Follow your attorney's advice and don't double check your attorney against the agent.

2) Exchange information with the other driver including name, address, insurance company name and policy number.

3) Call your Insurance company as soon as it is reasonable and safe and give them the details of your accident. If you are injured, call both your auto insurance and health car provider and file claims with both of them. Seek medical care asap. This is important especially in Florida as you coverage can be compromised if you do not.

4) If your car is damaged and you have collision Insurance and it is your fault, file a claim for damage with your own Insurance Company. If it isn't your fault, talk to your agent about filing the claim with the other parties' Insurance carrier (if they have coverage). This way you avoid deductibles and also may get other uncovered benefits (like a rental car if you do have not purchased the coverage on your own policy).

a) Do NOT authorize work on the car, and Do NOT sign any form that allows the shop to begin work until your claim is formally approved. You have a duty to allow the Insurance company to inspect the damage.

b) Do not sign any form the body shop presents to you that allows them to proceed without an estimate or to begin work prior to claim authorization. This is a recipe for disaster.

c) Trust the process, it usually goes very smooth. If it doesn't, contact your agent and have them intervene on your behalf.

d) The insurance adjuster will prepare an estimate. Oftentimes the body shop will prepare one that is much higher. Do not be alarmed. Let the body shop have the estimate and they will usually agree to do the work based on this estimate. IF they will not, tell them to negotiate the fee directly with the carrier. IF they won't, CONSIDER HAVING YOUR CAR TOWED SOMEWHERE ELSE. Since you were smart and didn't sign anything about daily fees and/or other nonsense up front, the body shop will have to release your car.

e) Most shops are Insurance friendly. Some are not. This can be important when picking a shop. Some company's will attempt to direct you to a repair shop that is on their approved list. Consider this, but also consider using the dealer you bought you car from. They have great incentive to keep you happy, and almost always have a good relationship with the insurance carrier.

f) Rarely something goes wrong and it ends up with a disagreement between you and the insurance company. If this happens, ask your agent to intervene and/or get his opinion on the dispute. If the problem persists, you have other options. ask for a second opinion from another agent. You can also take your car to another shop for a post-repair inspection and bolster your case this way. Another way would be to get legal counsel.

g) If you have filed a claim with the other driver's carrier and you can't come to terms with their settlement, as long as you didn't authorize work you can switch back to your company and settle it through your own collisiion coverage. However you will be responsible for the deductible up front. Once it is settled, your company will negotiate with the other carrier, and when (if) they get paid they will refund your deductible. This applies only when the accident is not your fault.

h) Do not assign payment direct to the body shop because You lose control over the work this way. Wait until the work is done and you are happy, then pay the shop directly.

I have been in the insurance industry for over 30 years and been in accidents myself where I needed repairs. Only one time did I have a problem and it was a dispute over whether a window was already broke when I brought it in, and this was with a claim against a company that did not insure my car. Both the body shop and the insurance company have an incentive to get the job done quickly and correctly. time=Money and time=bad customer relations for both of them. No business in their right mind wants uphappy customers. However there are a few bad actors on both sides and there are situations that just go bad. this is when a friend in the industry comes in. I am that friend, call me.

Bauknight Insurance operates two Counties in Florida, Bauknight Insurance, 13041 US Hwy 19, Hudson, FL 34667 (727) 863-5641 and Bauknight Insurance of Hernando 10488 Spring Hill Drive, Spring Hill, Fl 34607 (352-686-0612

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Citizens Property and Casualty is the largest property Insuror in Florida

Initially conceived as the insuror of last resort, Citizens property and Casualty has become the largest insuror by far of homes in Florida.

The facts:

As of 9/30/2010, Citizens Insures 1,185,513 Personal lines policies (Home Insurance and wind Insurance combined for residential occupancy)

The next largest Insuror, State Farm Florida Insurance Company, is actively non-renewing policies to reduce their exposure to about 1/2 that of Citizens  and has been currently downgraded to a B- rating.

In spite of a Mandate to reduce policies in Florida, Citizens continues to grow.

Allstate, Nationwide, Hartford, Geico, Travelers, and other major insurance companies have reduced their exposures to a fraction of what Citizens has.

"Take out Companies", Usually small newer companies with small histories and Assetts, are the only Companies that are growing their number of homeowner policies in Florida.

Take out company bankruptcys are on the rise, and serious questions about their ability to respond to claims.

The news is even worse for the policyholders in "sinkhole alley", Pasco, Hernando, Pinellas and Hillsborough.  These counties have virtually seen the Property Insurance marketplace be turned over in total to Citizens.

What happened?



This question is complex, but started with Insurance companies not properly modeling the risk of hurricaine in Florida and by violating a principle of Insurance called "spreading the Risk", often concentrating their policies in certain areas and/or overselling homeowner Insurance with the desire to cross sell other lines of Insurance.  Prior to Hurricaine Andrew, The Insurance Companies also reserved inadequately, grossly underestimating their worse case exposure. As an example, State Farm lost every dime they ever made in Florida in this one storm AND exposed the Mutual Company to possible liquidation if the Hurricaine had only hit 10 miles north and damaged the more populous areas of Dade and Broward County. Another example is Michigan Millers Mutual Insurance Company. While largely left untouched by Andrew, The multi-billion dollar loss forced the Company to face facts. The vast majority of their business was written in the Tampa Bay area, and if Andrew would have come up through the Bay and landed in Pinellas or Hillsborough County, this A+ rated company founded in 1881 would be foreced to  expose their Mid west clients and their entire company to the possibility of bankrupty.

These scenarios caused the major companies to form Florida Only Insurance Companies and the regional Carriers to Leave the State entirely.

Enter Citizens Property and Casualty Company.  This quasi governmental company was founded to fill the void.

2014 hurricane season

The weather is getting bearable, and we are halfway through hurricane season with no storms. Go Florida! 

According to The Weather Channel, this season predicted 11 named storms, 5 hurricanes, and 2 major hurricanes. We have been fortunate here in Hurricane alley to miss pretty much any of this activity in any meaningful way. Stay tuned.


Bauknight Insurance operates two Counties in Florida, Bauknight Insurance, 13041 US Hwy 19, Hudson, FL 34667 (727) 863-5641 and Bauknight Insurance of Hernando 10488 Spring Hill Drive, Spring Hill, Fl 34607 (352-686-0612

www.bauknightinsurance.com

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Heritage Insurance Company to "Transition" 35,000 policies out of another take out company.


Troubled Florida based Insurance company, Sunshine State Insurance Company, a fledging Florida based Insurance Company that has struck deals with Citizen's Insurance Company to "take out" thousands of policies, is in serious trouble.

What kind of trouble?  Well, there is more here...

https://www.weissratings.com/news/articles/140319-is-it-safe-sunshine-state-insurance-company/


In February, the Florida FLOIR (Florida's Insurance regulatory Agency) took This action, effectively banging the doors shut on Sunshine State.


Insurance companies are organizations that rely on strict accounting of funds.  Things like missing or inadequate financial statements, suspended Ceo's, and so forth are a BIG DEAL.

So what does this mean to the 35,000 or so Florida Sunshine State policyholders?  Well in rides the Calvary in the form of another Florida Based Insurance Company, Heritage Insurance Company.  Below is a blurb that briefly explains what is going on...

CLEARWATER, Fla., June 16, 2014 /PRNewswire/ -- Heritage Insurance Holdings, Inc. HRTG +2.26%announced that on June 13, 2014, it received a court order to  transition approximately 35,000 policies of Sunshine State Property & Casualty Insurance Company ("SSIC") which is in liquidation.


If you are insured now with Sunshine State, very soon you will be receiving paperwork from Heritage Insurance Company 'transitioning" your policy over to them.

Welcome to Florida, home of the most convulted homeowner insurance market in the Country.



about the author:  Greg Bauknight is president of Bauknight Agencies, with office in both pasco (Bauknight Insurance (727) 863-5641 and Hernando (352)-686-06. For more information you can call their office at either location or visit their website at www.bauknightinsurance.com



Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Citizen's property & casualty Insurance Company current homeowner and Dwelling fire sinkhole guidelines.

Florida residents with Citizens Homeowner Insurance or those that wish to purchase homeowner Insurance throught Citizens may wish to familiarize themselves with Citizens current stance on sinkhole coverage and cataststrophic ground collapse.


From Citizen's website as of 6/3/2014:


"Sinkhole Coverage and Claims
Citizens offers Sinkhole Loss coverage as an optional endorsement for Homeowners 3 - Special Form (CIT HO-3), Homeowners 8 - Modified Coverage Form (CIT HO-8) policies, and Dwelling Property 1 - Basic Form (CIT DP-1) and Dwelling Property 3 - Special Form (CIT DP-3) policies with Building coverage. Tenant contents, condominium and mobile home policies automatically include Sinkhole Loss coverage.

Sinkhole Loss coverage protects homeowners from structural damage to their home resulting from confirmed sinkhole activity. Sinkhole Loss coverage is different from Catastrophic Ground Cover Collapse coverage, which automatically is included in most Citizens policies. Catastrophic Ground Cover Collapse coverage applies only when geological activity results in all of the following conditions:

Abrupt collapse of ground cover
A depression in the ground cover that is clearly visible to the naked eye
Structural damage to the building, including the foundation
Condemnation of the structure and order by government authorities that it be vacated

Since 2006, more than 15,000 sinkhole-related claims have been reported to Citizens. To protect our policyholders from the rising costs of Sinkhole Loss coverage, Citizens requires sinkhole inspections when policyholders add Sinkhole Loss coverage to their policy if the covered building is located in one of 16 sinkhole-prone counties or if the coverage application indicates that there have been prior sinkhole claims or activity on the property.

The cost of sinkhole inspections is split evenly between Citizens and the policyholder. Upon completion of the inspection, Citizens' underwriting team will review the results and issue a decision on eligibility for Sinkhole Loss coverage. Policies that do not qualify for Sinkhole Loss coverage still may be eligible for regular Citizens coverage, which includes coverage for catastrophic ground cover collapse.

For more information, call Bauknight Insurance in hudson at 727-863-5641 or Bauknight Insurance of Hernando in Spring Hill, FL at 352-686-0612 or visit our website at www.bauknightinsurance.com



 For more information see our facebook page here

https://www.facebook.com/pages/Bauknight-Insurance-Bauknight-Insurance-of-Hernando/184282244962974


 call us in Hudson at 727-863-5641, Spring Hill, Florida at 352-686-0612.

Visit our google+page here...

https://plus.google.com/u/0/108696997997306188878/posts

Or, visit our website at www.bauknightinsurance.com

Monday, May 19, 2014

Basic Auto Insurance Terms

Bauknight Insurance of Hernando www.bauknightinsurance.com, operates independent agencies in both Pasco and Hernando county.  They can be reached at 352-686-0612 or 727-863.5641. Bauknight Insurance is a multi-line full service insurance agency offering many companies and all types of property and Casualty coverage.


BASIC AUTO INSURANCE TERMINOLOGY

Bodily Injury Liability
Bodily injury liability covers you in the event that you cause an accident in which another person (or people) is injured.
Property Damage Liability
Coverage in case your car damages someone else's property - usually this means someone else's car, but it could be a fence, light post or other piece of property.
Medical Payments
Medical Payments covers certain medical expenses if any vehicle occupants are injured in an accident.
Collision Coverage
Collision coverage is an optional coverage that covers damage to your car caused by impact with another car or object.
Comprehensive Coverage
Comprehensive car insurance coverage is also an optional coverage that covers damages to your car caused by something other than a collision - like theft, fire, etc.

Other coverage can be added to your policy, depending on the company offering the policy. many companys offer towing and labor and/or rental reimbursement.  Other companys offer things like guaranteed replacement cost of the car, gap coverage and more.
An independent agent is better suited to advise you what coverage are available for your situation and to provide you the rates of many companies at once.

Thursday, May 8, 2014

How bad is the Sinkhole problem in Central Florida?

Sinkholes have become the de facto "problem child" for insurance companies in this area resulting in tens of millions of dollars in losses.  this news is not new.  I have blogged about this issue before, but just how serious is the problem?

Actual sinkholes occur due to the topography of our area.  Hernando and Pasco counties are full of springs that are fed directly from the Florida aquifer.  the Florida aquifer is characterized by porous limestone where water flows through, most often with various layers above it, including clay and sand.  This system is normally under  pressure as the water pressure is greater than its ability to escape, and when it finally does escape it does so in a dramatic fashion, bublling up to the surface in various springs in the region.

Two major issues have contributed significantly to the problem.  the first is continued construction and overpopulation over the aquifer.  the local community then uses water for watering, washing, drinking and other uses. which reduces the  available water. the second issue is overpumping and sending the water to other areas.  Wells are strategically placed over the aquifer, millions of gallons are removed and shipped to Pinellas County.  For more on this see This link.

When the inevitable drought comes, the water level drops in the aquifer and no longer supports the limestone and failures occur.  Sometimes the failure causes something termed "downward dipping" and damage is caused to the structure when no sinkhole opens.  Other times dramatic sinkholes open up and swallow all or a portion of the home.

The problem has broached crises levels over the years.  On May 7, 2013 Hernando county felt the urgency to appeal to FEMA for relief due to the fact that as of  6106 sinkholes had been reported since 2000.  Of those only 2726 had been repaired.  this negatively affected the tax base which has caused loss of revenue to not only the County tax collector, but has affected real estate sales, house prices, Insurance availabilty, and even has had an affect on property pride of ownership.

About the author.

Greg Bauknight is the president of Bauknight Insurance of Hernando www.bauknightinsurance.com which has had offices in both Pasco and Hernando Counties for over 30 years.  they know first hand the problems associated with the sinkhole epidemic and can help those affected obtain coverage through multiple channels.  They can be reached at 352-686-0612 or 727-863-5641.