Insurance group says home-hardening efforts fall short
The Florida Association of Insurance Agents says in a report issued today that Florida’s hurricane mitigation initiatives are inadequate, thanks in part to state officials' focus on cutting homeowners' premiums "at any cost."
“The Office of Insurance Regulation’s singular focus on cutting premiums at any cost has mortgaged Florida’s future,” said FAIA president and CEO Jeff Grady. “A more thoughtful approach is urgently needed to strengthen Florida’s housing inventory against natural disasters.”
Years ago, Florida began encouraging residents to harden their homes against storms, using insurance premium discounts as an incentive. But the FAIA report concludes that those efforts failed because of "faulty implementation of mitigation discounts" and growing evidence of fraud, including misconduct by inspectors, insurance companies, agents and homeowners who misrepresented the work done on their homes.
Grady said home inspectors must be certified. State-certified inspectors were phased out when the My Safe Florida Home mitigation program ended June 30 after lawmakers failed to include money for it in the budget.
The report also suggests that home mitigation problems are contributing to volatility in Florida’s insurance market. FAIA officials want lawmakers to address the concerns during the 2010 session.