OIR Updates Irma Response
Insurance Commissioner David Altmaier provided updates to the Florida Senate and House of Representatives committees responsible for overseeing insurance issues. Commissioner Altmaier began by summarizing steps the OIR took prior to Hurricane Irma to prepare for the event and provide information to insurers. These steps included press releases and other consumer-oriented communications, outreach to insurers to assess their preparedness and needs, and coordinating with other governmental agencies. The OIR also prepared to implement its claims reporting data call.
After Hurricane Irma, the OIR began requiring insurers to report claims data and maintained communications with insurers as well as other agencies, including the Department of Financial Services’ consumer services unit. Commissioner Altmaier also noted that the Office of Insurance Regulation issued an order invoking certain statutory and rule-based post-storm requirements. The Senate Banking and Insurance Committee expressed interested in how many policyholders were affected by rate increases after Hurricane Irma due to rate filings that were approved and implemented prior to Irma.
Certain provisions of the OIR’s order affect cancellations and nonrenewals through October 15, subject to the possibility those provisions could have been extended. However, the OIR has not extended those provisions and they will expire on October 15 as stated in the order because emergency conditions have subsided in the market (particularly as to properties that were not damaged by the storm; policies subject to storm damage are subject to a separate statutory limitation on cancellations or nonrenewals).
Commissioner Altmaier mentioned that over 700,000 claims have been reported causing estimated insured losses of $4.5 billion. Insurers report that 25% of the claims closed. Commissioner Altmaier further mentioned that he does not expect any insurers to encounter financial difficulty as a result of Hurricane Irma.