News & Updates


Storms blow into my wallet

By STEVE OTTO Steve Otto

Published: August 16, 2009

As luck would have it, our homeowners insurance bill showed up in the mailbox about the same time the first tropical depression began forming off the coast of Africa and the TV weather people started running those spaghetti model projections in the general direction of my house.

I figured it would be a good time to look at the bill a little closer to see just how we’re covered.

The Magna Carta wasn’t as long as our insurance premium or as hard to understand. These things are complicated, especially when it comes to a hurricane. I’m still not sure the company is going to pay up unless we are hit by a storm that has a name, is not a tsunami, is not a flood, is not really just our sewers backing up and happens to strike on an even day on a month that doesn’t have any "Rs" in it.

It starts by saying they had to raise our deductible to just more than $5,000. For that privilege our homeowners hurricane policy premium is only twice what the rest of the premium is.

But that didn’t bother me as much as reading that we are also apparently going to be paying for everyone else.

Big wind across Florida

Some of the surcharges listed include:

•Emergency Management Fund – That one was only $2. My guess is it covers the weekly football pool for the insurance gang in Tallahassee.

•Florida Hurricane Catastrophe Fund Premium Recoupment – That one was a little stiffer at nearly $400. Somebody lost a lot of money betting on something; maybe those houses on the beach.

•Florida Hurricane Catastrophe Emergency Assessment – This sounds like the "We didn’t learn from the last one" fund that is supposed to build up the stash of money they lost from the premium recoupment.

•Citizens Emergency Assessment – They aren’t too clear just what the emergency is on this one or why we are getting stuck with the tab.

•FIGA Emergency Assessment Recoupment – Like we are supposed to know what a FIGA is or why it deserves any kind of recoupment, emergency or otherwise.

•Citizens Regular Assessment Recoupment – I suppose this is like having a tattoo that says you live in Florida.

By now I figured I knew enough about our coverage to realize it was time to consider moving to North Dakota, but I kept on.

Snow way

On Page 22 was the warning that if "Your property is damaged by more than one hurricane during this calendar year, we may apply a deductible to the subsequent hurricane that is the greater amount of the hurricane deductible or the amount of the deductible that applies to all other perils." It didn’t say what those perils might be, but I would assume bankruptcy would top the list at our house.

There was more, but I skipped over the next few pages that covered the news about changes to our sinkhole coverage, grateful at least we still aren’t paying into an Avalanche Emergency Assessment Fund.

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