Property Damage & Disaster Restoration Blog: Long Island & New York City

Florida House OKs Alternative Hurricane Insurance

Posted on Mon, Feb 06, 2012 @ 09:17 AM

 

By BILL KACZOR | February 6, 2012

Claims Journal

hurricane,insurance,hurricane insurance,long island,new york,long island hurricane,Legislation designed to help state-backed Citizens Property Insurance Co. spin off customers to reduce its hurricane risk cleared the Florida House after a heated debate Friday.

The bill (HB 245) would let surplus lines companies, which have unregulated rates, take customers from Citizens if the firms meet certain financial requirements.

Gov. Rick Scott has taken the lead in pushing for the depopulation of Citizens. He contends its rates, limited by law, are artificially low, which could leave nearly all Floridians on the hook if a major storm hits the state.

That’s because Citizens can assess not only its own customers but those of other insurers providing a variety of coverage, including automobile policies, to make up its losses. Created to be an insurer of last resort, Citizens has become Florida’s largest property insurer with nearly 1.5 million customers as private companies have fled the state or downsized because of the hurricane threat.

The bill that passed 66-48 now goes to the Senate where similar legislation hasn’t yet had a committee hearing.

It would let Citizens automatically hand off homeowners and other customers to the surplus lines companies. Customers, however, could opt out of the switch or go back to Citizens later, the bill’s supporters said.

Opponents said customers who get switched would face higher rates and could be left holding the bag if their insurer becomes insolvent and cannot cover claims. That’s because surplus lines are not included in the Florida Insurance Guaranty Association.

“Insolvencies happen. They happen all the time,” said Rep. Rick Kriseman, a St. Petersburg Democrat who opposed the bill.

Kriseman said the guaranty association has paid out $24.2 billion for claims against more than 600 insolvent insurers.

Supporters said surplus lines companies would be required to have at least $50 million in surplus funds to participate in the program and that many are owned by major insurance companies with even greater financial backing.

“They are mainstream participants in the U.S. insurance marketplace,” said Rep. Bill Hager, a Boca Raton Republican and former Iowa insurance commissioner. “They are recognized in the main as stable, good-faith operators.”

Floridians could depend on them in case the state is struck by a major hurricane such as Katrina, which devastated New Orleans, Hager said.

“Katrina’s coming,” he told his colleagues. “You’ll look good when you vote for this. Your constituents will look even better.”

Although the state Office of Insurance Regulation, or OIR, cannot regulate surplus line rates, it does oversee the companies in other ways and can kick them out of the state if they get into financial trouble, Hager said.

That argument did not sway Rep. Evan Jenne, D-Dania Beach.

“OIR stands for the ‘office of industry rubber-stamping,”’ Jenne said.

Kriseman also criticized the legislation for having an opt-out rather than an opt-in provision.

“That means we’re asking our seniors, our seasonal residents and our families, who are busy working, to hopefully receive, read and understand the notification letter and then to take the step to reject the switch if they don’t want it,” he said.

Tags: disaster, insurance, hurricane, disaster preparedness, hurricane insurance

Changing Climate = More Disasters, Property Damage, Insurance Claims

Posted on Tue, Jan 31, 2012 @ 12:56 PM

disaster,disasters,property damage,disaster restoration,insurance,insurance claims,property loss,long island,new york,hurricane,climate change,weather,advanced restorationLast year's extreme weather across the U.S. — 2011 was the most expensive year ever for natural disasters — is raising concern among scientists and policymakers about the nation's ability to withstand a shifting climate.

Damage from tornadoes, floods, droughts, hurricanes and wildfires caused more than $200 billion in losses and 1,000 deaths across the nation last year. Florida escaped major damage, but saw record high temperatures over the summer, after a much colder than normal winter.

The conversation about climate change has to move beyond debates about greenhouse gases to discussions about making homes and infrastructure more resilient to weather, said Margaret Davidson, director of the Coastal Services Center for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

Communities must reduce their vulnerabilty, she said during a forum on adapting to climate change at the American Meteorological Society meeting here.

Recent trends show the cost of natural disasters escalating while the government's financial ability to deal with those losses shrinks. Climate scientists anticipate an uptick in extreme weather as the global climate warms.

"You can see there's a train wreck coming and it has to do with Mother Nature," Davidson said.

In communities where disasters, such as floods and storm surge, occur frequently, the knee-jerk reaction is to rebuild the same roads and bridges that existed before and bigger, more expensive homes. Those "stupid" decisions cost the nation, Davidson said, adding that 70 percent of repetitive losses covered by the Federal Emergency Management Agency are in coastal counties.

Floods this year caused some of the most dramatic and costly damage. Hurricane Irene, which brought devastating and record-breaking floods to Vermont, hit the East Coast three times. The storm killed 45 people and inflicted $7.3 billion in damage. The cost of recovery caused tension in Congress when some leaders balked at sending relief to affected communities.

The Midwest and Northern Plains saw record floods from snowmelt and torrential rainfall that swelled the Mississippi, Ohio and Missouri Rivers.

Seven states in the Northeast and the Ohio Valley had their wettest year on record, with some seeing rainfall of up to 8 inches above normal, said Jake Crouch, a physical scientist with the National Climactic Data Center, a federal agency that publishes and annual State of the Climate report.

Meanwhile, the southern tier of the nation baked in drought. Texas experienced its greatest drought on record and saw raging wildfires that destroyed 1,500 homes. Nearly 60 percent of the nation plunged into drought last year, also breaking a record.

In 2011, 58 percent of the nation was either extremely wet or extremely dry, the highest percentage ever, according the report.

It was also a year of devastating tornadoes across the Midwest and the Southeast. The spring storm season sent waves of cold fronts colliding with the warm, moist atmosphere over the Southeast. The severe storms triggered 1,155 tornadoes, killing more than 300 people and causing $20 billion in damage.

The nation saw a total of 14 natural disasters that cost more than $1 billion each, breaking another new record, and underscoring the effect of climate extremes on people, Crouch said.

While scientists cannot blame any single disaster on climate change, they can point to trends and make comparisons between what they see and what changes are predicted in a warmer world. Last year fit with expectations that a warmer Earth would bring much more rain to the Northeast, drought to the Southern Plains, warmer than normal temperatures in the high latitudes, such as those of Norway and Siberia, and shrinking sea ice.

For the U.S., extreme drought and rainfall were likely a combination of climate change and regular climate variation related to sea surface temperatures in the Pacific, Crouch said. Last year was dominated by La Niña, a weather pattern triggered by cooler than normal Pacific seas.

An interesting obversation that Crouch noted, however, was that La Niña years tend to be cooler globally. Last year was the 11th warmest year on record and the warmest La Niña year on record.

 

Tags: property damage, insurance claims, insurance, new york, disasters, long idland, damages, extreme weather

Best Revises Chartis, Lexington & Members Outlooks to Stable

Posted on Mon, Jan 30, 2012 @ 08:54 AM

 

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In connection with its revision of its outlook on AIG, A.M. Best Co. has affirmed the financial strength ratings of ‘A’ (Excellent) and issuer credit ratings (ICR) of “a” of Chartis US Insurance Group and its members and the Lexington Insurance Pool and its members, headquartered in Boston, Mass. The outlook for these ratings has also been revised to stable from negative.

Best also affirmed the FSR of ‘A’ (Excellent) and ICR of “a” of AIU Insurance Company (AIU); however, its outlook on these ratings remains negative.

In addition Best has affirmed the FSR of’ ‘B+’ (Good) and ICR of “bbb-” of American General Property Insurance Company (AGPIC) (headquartered in Houston, Texas). The outlook for these ratings has been revised to stable from negative.

In a related action Best withdrew the FSRs of ‘A’ (Excellent) and ICRs of “a” of Chartis Select Insurance Company and Landmark Insurance Company, due to the merger of these companies with and into their immediate parents, Lexington Insurance Company and National Union Insurance Company of Pittsburgh, Pa., respectively.

All of these companies are subsidiaries of American International Group, and are headquartered in New York, NY, unless otherwise noted.

The ratings of Chartis US reflect its “supportive level of risk-adjusted capitalization, the group’s leadership position in the global property/casualty market, the successful implementation of Chartis’ rebranding, the effect of new leadership on management’s approach to the business, and its favorable earnings prospects in light of the financial, cultural and operational initiatives put in place since 2010,” Best explained.

As an offsetting factor Best cited the “effect of soft market conditions on underwriting results, adding that it expects the “continued emergence of adverse development of prior years’ loss reserves and the group’s exposure to natural and man-made catastrophe events which, although diminished by recent underwriting actions, remains a significant contributor to underwriting variability.”

Best explained that the stable outlook “reflects Chartis US’ market position; its ability to lead, attract and retain clients by leveraging its significant global capacity, extensive product offerings and innovation; and greater emphasis on technical pricing and predictive modeling. While reserve development remains a concern, the stable outlook suggests that any future reserve development will be within a level,” which Best said was “acceptable.”

Best also noted that it “expects that the group will continue to maintain a supportive level of risk-adjusted capitalization through favorable net earnings while providing shareholder dividends to its parent in accordance with historical norms.

“The change in outlook to stable from negative also considers the continued improvements at AIG including the January 2011 implementation of the company’s recapitalization plan, AIG’s recent issuance of debt and equity in the public capital markets, enhanced holding company liquidity and the orderly wind down of its financial products division.”

In addition Best pointed out that “Chartis US’ risk-adjusted capital position remained stable in 2011 and is well-supportive of the ratings at its current level. A decline in affiliated investments in recent years has served to improve both the level and quality of risk-adjusted capital, as have actions to reduce the group’s exposure to natural catastrophes. Surplus declined in 2011, primarily due to underwriting losses driven by catastrophes and by payment by the group members of shareholder dividends in line with historical levels.”

Best said it “anticipates that future dividends will be taken in accordance with AIG’s strategy of maintaining more capital at the holding company level, which affords a greater level of flexibility to deploy resources throughout the enterprise.” At the same time Best expects that “capital will be maintained at a sufficient level to support the ratings at the operating entities. AIG has issued Capital Maintenance Agreements to its key operating subsidiaries as part of its capital management plan in support of this expectation.”

An apparently major factor in Best’s actions is Chartis improved underwriting performance through the first nine months of 2011, compared with 2010, but, Best added, it “is expected to be slightly worse than the industry average for the year. Chartis US’ 2011 results for that period were impacted by the unusually high level of global catastrophe activity in the year, which added approximately nine points to the combined ratio. Results as of September 30, 2011 also were modestly impacted by adverse development of prior years’ loss reserves.”

Best explained that the “favorable comparison of 2011 results to 2010 is substantially affected by the impact of increases in reserves for prior years’ losses in 2010, which totaled $5.2 billion and added over 26 points to the reported statutory combined ratio in that year. The reserve increase in 2010 was, as indicated previously, within Best’s estimate of the group’s reserve deficiency and, as such, did not drive a change in the group’s ratings. Favorable rate changes accelerated through 2011 and Chartis US expects to continue achieving rate increases through 2012.”

The future development of loss reserves “will be favorably impacted by the 2011 loss portfolio transfer of Chartis US’ asbestos reserves to National Indemnity Company, a subsidiary of Berkshire Hathaway Inc.,” Best said. However offsetting this favorable effect is Best’s expectation that “the group’s reserves—even after consideration of the benefit of this agreement—remain deficient, although at a lower level than prior to these actions.”

Best’s assessment of the group’s risk-adjusted level “reflects this expectation,” as well as Best’s expectation that “Chartis US’ reported underwriting results will continue to reflect increases in prior years’ loss reserves in the near to midterm.

“The group continues to enjoy its position as a leading provider of commercial insurance in the U.S. market and benefits from Chartis’ global leadership position. The group’s ability to provide global insurance services to multinational companies, as well as to meet the needs of local markets, remains a key differentiator of its business profile.”

As far as the ratings on Lexington are concerned, Best explained that they “reflect its supportive level of risk-adjusted capitalization, historically favorable development of prior years’ loss reserves, consistent generation of favorable pre-tax operating and net income and its position as the leader in the U.S. excess and surplus lines market.”

As partial offsetting factors Best cited the “effects of soft market conditions on the group’s underwriting results; its exposure to natural catastrophes, which drives variability in underwriting performance; and the long-tailed nature of its excess casualty writings.”

Best said the stable outlook reflects its expectation that the group will maintain a supportive level of risk-adjusted capital driven by continued favorable net earnings. The change in outlook to stable from negative also reflects Best’s perspective on the reduced risk to Lexington from negative events at its ultimate parent, AIG.”

However, Best noted that “Lexington’s underwriting and operating results deteriorated through the first three quarters of 2011 from their 2010 level, driven by the significant level of catastrophe and weather-related events in the year.”

The adverse effect of these events, however, “was partially offset by favorable development of the pool’s reserves for prior years’ losses. Despite the decline in underwriting performance driven by a near-historic level of global catastrophe activity, the group’s underwriting losses through September 30, 2011 were relatively modest in the context of its surplus and asset bases. Underwriting results continue to benefit from a better than average expense ratio,” but, as Best also observed, “Lexington’s expense ratio has grown closer to its peer group average in recent years, driven in part by lower levels of net written premium (particularly in 2009).

“Following the sharp decline in net written premium in 2009, Lexington’s premiums rebounded in 2010 and 2011. The decline reflected both reduced demand for traditional excess and surplus (E&S) coverages (as admitted carriers sought to boost business by writing coverages traditionally offered on an E&S basis on their admitted paper) and the effects of AIG’s 2008 crisis.

“The pool maintained its E&S leadership position, however, and as the aftermath of AIG’s issues faded, customer and premium retentions have returned to near-normal levels. As with Chartis US, Lexington expects the positive rate actions that began in 2011 to continue through 2012.”

Best said its ratings on AIU “reflect its supportive level of risk-adjusted capitalization, the historically favorable performance of its core book of Japanese A&H and auto insurance and its restored focus on that business.”

As offsetting factors, Best cited “the variability in surplus and results in recent years (related in part to the quota share reinsurance it provided to an affiliate in 2008 and 2009), the effects of the Tohoku earthquake and tsunami on 2011 results and the potential for continued changes in the company’s legal entity structure as the previously announced restructuring of Chartis’ business continues. The negative outlook on the ratings is reflective of these offsetting factors.”

 Best’s ratings on AGPIC “reflect the company’s sufficient level of risk adjusted capital to run off its remaining liabilities and the orderly progress of that run-off, offset by its limited business profile,” the report said. The stable outlook reflects Best’s expectation that “the company will continue to maintain sufficient capital to facilitate the wind down of its business, and that there will be no negative impact on the company resulting from issues related to AIG.”

In conclusion Best indicated that it doesn’t “expect positive movement on any of these ratings in the near to midterm. Potential drivers of downward movement in the ratings include deterioration in risk-adjusted capitalization below the level required to support the ratings; underwriting or operating performance that is not in line with Best’s expectations; recognition of adverse development of prior years’ loss reserves in excess of Best’s expectations; recognition of a failure of management to disclose information that is relevant to the rating process; reduction in or withdrawal of lines of credit available to AIG or Chartis Inc.; and deterioration in the financial condition of AIG, whether driven by its insurance or non-insurance operations.”

Best summarized the companies affected by the ratings announcements as follows:

The FSR of ‘A’ (Excellent) and the ICR of “a” have been affirmed and the outlook revised to stable from negative for Chartis US Insurance Group and its following members:
       National Union Fire Insurance Company of Pittsburgh, Pa.
       American Home Assurance Company
       Commerce and Industry Insurance Company
       Chartis Property and Casualty Company
       The Insurance Company of the State of Pennsylvania
       New Hampshire Insurance Company
       Chartis Insurance Company – Puerto Rico
       Chartis Insurance Company of Canada
       Chartis Casualty Company
       Granite State Insurance Company
       Illinois National Insurance Company

The FSR of ‘A’ (Excellent) and the ICR of “a” have been affirmed and the outlook revised to stable from negative for Lexington Insurance Pool and its following members:
       Lexington Insurance Company
       Chartis Specialty Insurance Company
       Chartis Excess Limited

Source: A.M. Best

Article First Published in The Insurance Journal

 

Tags: insurance journal, chartis insurance, a.m. best, long island, insurance, new york

The Next Big Thing In Insurance Coverage Is Here

Posted on Tue, Dec 13, 2011 @ 10:16 AM

By Amy O' Connor | December 13, 2011

First Published in the Insurance Journal

insurance journal,advanced restoration,insurance,restoration,long island,new york,new york city

 

Some in the insurance industry are staking their futures on the reputations of others. That is, they are looking to insure reputational risk.

With the boom in social media, interest in reputational risk has itself boomed. The term refers to a company’s risk of having its reputation damaged because of certain events or incidents and the fallout that takes place because of these incidents. In some cases, the effects can be severe enough to put a company out of business.

In recent months, Aon (along with Zurich) Willis and Chartis have also come out with policies that address the exposures of reputational risk and offer risk management services to help corporations keep their reputations intact.

The Reputation Institute in London, England, deals with issues of reputation management and the strategic importance of reputation, its assets and effects on a company’s balance sheet. The Institute also studies how a company will be able to perform, or survive, if a crisis were to occur.

Seamus Gillen, senior adviser at Reputation Institute, says these new insurance policies are just the tip of the iceberg and there are whispers that insurers see this as the next big class of business.

“It has been understood and acknowledged universally that the crystallization of reputation risk creates or leads to value destruction,” he says. “The financial impact on companies which go through a crisis can be significant. Suddenly people all over the world and within financial media have been putting a term on that.”

The Reputational Institute doesn’t offer crisis management, but Gillen says that it often does end up inside companies that are trying to put out fires.

“We are more proactive – what framework companies need to put into place to manage reputation,” Gillen says.

Recently, the Reputation Institute has been increasingly asked to address reputational risk and give input on reputational insurance products, according to Gillen.

“Reputational risk as a concept is really coming into its own. Previously people talk about reputation and brand and PR and all that – now everyone is talking about reputational risk,” he says. “We are seeing a lot of markets reactions to that with the insurance industry seeking to set up products for clients.”

The Reputation Institute doesn’t offer insurance or work in the industry, but Giillen says it was approached recently by a major London insurer about partnering on an insurance product.

Gillen says his organization has stood on the sidelines when it comes to endorsing any insurance coverages or companies. But that is about to change. The institute will only issue an endorsement when it is sure it is the right fit and a worthwhile product. He said there is a deal being negotiated and an announcement could come soon.

“There is no shortage of crisis management people who want to work with us and we are likely to go into the market,” he says. “People need support to make their business a success. It is about taking philosophies of my reputation and risk management to create a coherent strategy. People are coming to us and saying, ‘how can you help me with this?’”

Robert Yellen, chief underwriting officer for the executive liability division of Chartis in New York, says the company launched its new ReputationGuard product because of what it was hearing from its corporate clients.

“At the board level, the number one non-financial concern [for companies] is reputation,” he says. “It is more and more common for the press to glob onto things that put a company’s reputation at risk. The old adage says, ‘It takes 20 years to build a reputation and five minutes to ruin it.’”

Yellen says he has seen a few other coverages in the marketplace that deal with a crisis and insurance responses to the crisis itself, as well as pieces to the policy that deal with reputation and communication in a limited amount or context, but they use named or limited peril coverage triggers.

ReputationGuard was designed to help insureds cope with reputational threats, providing access to reputation and crisis communications firms Burson-Marsteller and Porter Novelli and coverage for costs associated with avoiding or minimizing the potential impact of negative publicity.

There are two categories of coverage:

  1. For reputation attacks: a public attack upon a company’s reputation. The costs of hiring communications experts from the Chartis panel and communications costs.
  2. For reputation threats: acts or events that the company believes, if made public, would have a material impact on the company’s reputation and would be seen as a breach of trust by the company’s stakeholders.

Chartis is not excluding any business segments but is most interested in those with revenues of $500,000 to $2 billion.

Yellen says the product is targeted to middle-market companies because larger companies are more likely to have in-house teams to deal with these issues. The middle-market and smaller companies may also need more assistance in putting the proper risk management procedures in place.

“Everyone has a reputation at stake, that is a common theme among business,” says Yellen. “People can argue that small businesses, like generic component manufacturers, don’t care, but in the regions we sell to, that’s not a mentality we see. Everyone cares about their reputation.”

Willis is taking a more segment specific route with its new Hotel Reputation Protection 2.0 policy, which responds to incidents that lead to, or are likely to lead to, hotel business losses from adverse publicity through any medium, from traditional to new media.

The policy provides cover for lost revenue based on RevPAR figures, a performance metric in the hotel industry that measures revenue per available room. The coverage also covers the cost of hiring a crisis management consulting firm during the first weeks of an incident.

“This product provides immediate assistance to a client who is suffering an incident which through social media will damage their brand,” says Laurie Fraser, Global Markets Leisure practice leader for Willis Group Holdings in London.

Fraser says the product was predicated on research in reputation, causes of concern to hotels, worldwide figures for incidents and the magnitude. It was designed in consultation with hotels. In the first week the product was launched, there were 32 inquiries, according to Fraser.

“Brand and reputation is an area of increasing importance and concern, especially among our hotel clients,” says Fraser.

Gillen agrees that insurers have a huge opportunity to help companies prevent a crisis with insurance products and access to outside resources.

“Unequivocally, in my view the biggest value piece [of reputational risk insurance] is to help the client understand and help prevent a crisis from happening in the first place,” says Gillen.

Gillen says there is no shortage of reputational risks from social media and the Internet in general, from corporate manslaughter, money laundering, corporate corruption, and terrorism. Consumers also have more awareness of how to affect a company’s fate.

“Companies need to be very careful about where they position themselves in order to get where they want to go because it can be fatal if they don’t take it seriously,” he says.

The combination of all the potential risks, says Gillen, is enough to make reputational risk insurance a hot commodity.

“I think [reputational risk insurance] will take off because there will be enough people out there that want some reassurance and their boards wanting reassurance that the company has the best crisis responses in place,” he says. “This is probably an idea that’s time has come.”

Executive Concern

The concern over reputational risk is reflected in the results of a new survey by Lloyd’s. The 2011 Lloyd’s Risk Index polled 500 C-Suite and board level executives in North America, Europe, Asia and elsewhere to assess corporate risk priorities and attitudes around the world. Business leaders were asked to rank the biggest risks they now face. In 2009 reputational risk was ranked ninth, in 2011 it came in third.

According to Lloyd’s, a 2010 study (Oxford Metrica Reputation Review) of the world’s 1,000 largest companies found 80 percent of companies lose more than 20 percent of their value at least once in a 5-year period because of a major reputational event.

“Business fails to protect itself from reputational damage at its peril,” says the Lloyd’s report, which claims certain business practices can directly increase the likelihood of reputational risk, including operating in new territories without a thorough understanding of local geopolitics, as many international companies operating in Nigeria have discovered.

 

 

 

About Amy O' Connor

O'Connor is associate editor of MyNewMarkets.com.

 

Tags: insurance journal, long island, property damage, risk, insurance, restoration, new york city

A Consumer Guide to Insurance for Natural Disasters

Posted on Thu, Dec 30, 2010 @ 10:59 AM

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Introduction
Natural disasters (including floods, nor'easters, etc.) affect the lives of many people in the United States every year.The hazardous effects can be local, impacting a neighborhood or community; or very large, affecting an entire city or county. People who understand disasters and know what to do before and after a disaster can significantly reduce the time and cost to return to normalcy. The purpose of this information is to provide an understanding of the types of natural disasters and the insurance available to cover the losses resulting from them.
 
Insurance for Your Residence
Depending on your type of dwelling, you will need to consider your insurance options to determine the most appropriate coverage. It makes good sense to purchase the type and amount of coverage that is adequate to protect your home and your family.

Owning a Home – There are various types of policies available to homeowners. In general, the homeowners policy combines property coverage with liability coverage. Dwelling policies only provide property coverage.

Rental – This policy covers the personal property owned by renters. It can also cover liabilities arising from accidents and injuries for guests..

Owning a Condominium – Condominium policies primarily provide content coverage to condominium owners. In addition, there are special provisions to cover the portions of the dwelling for which you are responsible as defined by the governing rules of the condominium.

Owning a Home on a Farm – If your home is on a farm, a farm owners policy may be appropriate to protect against loss. In general, a farm owners policy provides coverage for farm business exposures, and both property and liability coverages.
 
Insurance Available for Your Property
Before buying an insurance policy, you should check for the types of coverages and products available in New York State. You also need to know the types and limits of coverage you want to purchase. Coverage is available for:
 
Dwelling – This is the structure of the house. (That is considered a covered property.)

Other Structures – These are other structures that are separate from the house. Examples are detached garages or toolsheds.

Personal Property – The contents in your home are considered personal property. This includes furniture, appliances, clothing and computer equipment. Some personal properties are specifically excluded and are either not covered under the policy or have limited coverage. Examples are: money, jewelry and firearms.
 
Loss of Use – This is the cost of additional living expenses incurred, when the dwelling becomes uninhabitable, and the cause is due to a covered loss. Reimbursement, such as the cost of a hotel room, will be made to the insured to maintain a normal standard of living.
 
Information Source:
New York State Department of Insurance
25 Beaver Street One Commerce Plaza
New York, NY 10004 Albany, NY 12257
(212) 480-6400 (800) 342-3736
www.ins.state.ny.us

Tags: fire restoration, flood long island, insurance, insurance claim, disrepair, flood damage, disaster restoration, insurance industry, insurance industry long island

State Farm Insurance Sticking With PSP Program

Posted on Mon, Dec 20, 2010 @ 08:06 AM

state farm,insurance,psp,claims,insurance claim,coverage,premier service provider,disaster, restoration, disaster restoration, property damage, insurance claims, certified restorer, long island, new york, construction, insurance companies, brian martin, homes, buildings, commercial buildings, disasters, water damage, fire damage, smoke damage, indoor air quality, mold remediation, insurance company, iaq, cr, ria, restoration industry association, 24 hour emergency, disaster response, emergency disaster response, reconstruction, insurance repair, water damage repair, fire damage repair, building repairWith speculation running rampant that State Farm may be dropping its Premier Service Program, the insurance company reiterated to the Restoration Forum this week that the program isn’t going anywhere.

However, there is a possibility that the program could be seeing some changes as several sources have indicated that State Farm plans to outsource PSP to a third party manager.

“We are constantly looking at our programs for ways to make them better,” spokesperson Dick Luedke said. “That isn’t anything new, but at this time we have not made any decisions on changes for PSP”.

Additional rumors about the program dropping its exclusivity with SERVPRO and ServiceMaster have also surfaced and while those changes, as well as any other changes are always a possibility, nothing has been done at this time.

“We have not nailed any decisions down at this time,” claimed Luedke.

The Restoration Forum will continue to update you on this story as well as any other news that shapes the restoration industry.

Article taken from The Restoration Forum

 

Tags: psp program, insurance, restoration, state farm, premire service program, homeowners insurance

Fireman's Fund Expands Green Insurance to Educational Institutions

Posted on Tue, Sep 07, 2010 @ 09:41 AM

insurance journal,green insurance,insurance,fireman's fund,green insurance policy,educational facilities,long island,new york,advanced restoration corporationFireman's Fund Insurance Co. is broadening its commercial green insurance appetite to include public and private schools, colleges and universities, and trade and vocational schools.

With Green-Gard commercial building coverages from Fireman's Fund, schools can replace standard systems and materials with green alternatives after a loss. In the event of a total loss, Fireman's Fund will pay the cost to rebuild as a green certified building. If the property is already green-certified it will benefit from a 5 percent premium discount on its regular insurance coverage. In the case of a loss, Fireman's Fund protects the school's green investment with coverage by allowing it to attain certification at one level above the certified green building level prior to the loss or damage.

"To meet the emerging sustainability needs of schools, Fireman's Fund will now offer comprehensive green insurance coverage. Whether the schools have built green buildings, made green renovations or want to rebuild green in the event of a loss, Fireman's Fund provides the premier insurance solutions for these financial and environmental investments," said Stephen Bushnell, senior director of emerging industries at Fireman's Fund.

As reason for the program expansion, the insurer said public schools spend $6 billion every year on energy, the second highest expense following salaries, while colleges and universities spend approximately $2 billion on utility bills according to data from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. The U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) has found that a green building typically uses 30 percent to 50 percent less energy and 30 percent less water, which can free up critical funds to support schools' core mission. USGBC data also shows that schools that have made green renovations save nearly $100,000 per year.

Going green also means attracting and retaining quality students and faculty for colleges and universities, the company said. The Princeton Review found that 68 percent of high school students are looking for a green campus in their search for their best fit college.

"Colleges and universities have long been on the leading edge of reducing greenhouse gas emissions, energy costs and their overall impact on the environment. A green campus not only conserves energy and makes a statement on climate change, it also reduces utility costs which can make a dramatic impact on a school's bottom line," said Bushnell.

Tags: insurance journal, fireman's fund, green, insurance, green insurancegreen-card, commercial building coverages, educational institutions

Wind Damage to Your Home: Wind Advisory in New York

Posted on Tue, Dec 29, 2009 @ 08:54 AM
Heavy winds are pounding Long Island today and the National Weather Service has issued a Wind Advisory for parts of New York. 

During a severe storm or a hurricane, homes may be damaged or destroyed by high winds. Debris can break windows and doors, allowing high winds inside the home. In extreme storms, the force of the wind alone can cause weak places in your home to fail.

Some helpful tips regarding wind damage and preparing for storms are listed below: 

The Roof
During a windstorm, the force of the wind pushes against the outside of your home. That force is passed along from your roof to the exterior walls and finally to the foundation. Homes can be damaged or destroyed when the energy from the wind is not properly transferred to the ground. The first thing you should do is determine what type of roof you have. Homes with gabled roofs are more likely to suffer damage during a hurricane. A gabled roof looks like an A on the ends,with the outside wall going to the top of the roof. The end wall of a home with a gabled roof takes a beating during a hurricane or wind storm, and those that are not properly braced can collapse, causing major damage to the roof.

Exterior Doors and Windows
The exterior walls, doors, and windows are the protective shell of your home. If your home's protective shell is broken, high winds can enter and put pressure on your roof and walls, causing damage. You can protect your home by strengthening the doors and windows.

Double Entry Doors
Most double doors have an active and an inactive or fixed door . Check to see how the fixed door is secured at the top and bottom. The bolts or pins that secure most doors are not strong enough. Some door manufacturers provide reinforcing bolt kits made specifically for their doors. Check with your local building supplies retailer to findout what type of bolt system will work for your door.

Double-wide Garage Doors
Double-wide (two-car) garage doors can pose a problem during storms because they are so large that they wobble as the high winds blow and can pull out of their tracks or collapse from wind pressure. If garage doors fail, high winds can enter your home through the garage and blow out doors, windows, walls, and even the roof.

Check the track on your garage door. With both hands, grab a section of each track and see if it is loose or if it can be twisted. If so, a stronger track should be installed.

Storm Shutters
Installing storm shutters over all exposed windows and other glass surfaces is one of the easiest and most effective ways to protect your home. You should cover all windows, French doors, sliding glass doors, and skylights. There are many types of manufactured storm shutters available. For more information on manufactured shutters, check with your local building supplies retailer. If you install manufactured shutters, follow the manufacturer's instructions carefully.

The recommendations discussed here are not intended to replace local building code requirements or to serve as the only options for protecting your home from hurricane wind damage. For more information on protecting your home from hurricane wind damage, contact your local building official; your local building supply retailer; or a building professional.

Advanced Restoration is a property damage restoration company that is trained and ready to respond to any disaster situation, including wind damage to your home or business. We are a preferred vendor for many insurance carriers and have been serving Long Island and the NY Metro area for 20 years. 

Do you have a property damage situation you need help with? 
Call us today at (800) 693-6263!

 

Tags: wind damage, hurricane tips, property damage, restoration companies, water damage restoration, nassau county restoration, winter storm, cold winter, insurance, restoration, suffolk county restoration, homeowner tips, restoration company, rebuild, home repair, buying a home, weather, nor'easter

Disaster Mitigation...Buying Insurance

Posted on Thu, Jun 18, 2009 @ 01:49 PM

DISASTER MITIGATION... BUYING INSURANCE
By Chris Floyd Disaster Services Director Capital Area Chapter American Red Cross

Even with adequate time to prepare for a disaster, you still may suffer significant, unavoidable damage to your property. That's when insurance for renters or homeowners can be a big help. Yet, many people affected by recent disasters have been underinsured- or worse- not insured at all. Make sure the insurance you buy protects against the perils you face.

If You Own a Home...

  • Buy, at minimum, full replacement or replacement cost coverage. This means the structure can be replaced up to the limits specified in the policy.
  • Investigate buying a guaranteed replacement cost policy. When and where available, these policies can pay to rebuild your house, including improvements, at today's prices, regardless of the limits of the policy.
  • Have your home periodically reappraised to be sure the policy reflects the real replacement cost.
  • Update the policy to include any home improvements, such as basement refinishing. Annual automatic increases may not be enough to cover these.
  • Buy a policy that covers the replacement cost of your possessions. Standard coverage only pays for the actual cash value (replacement cost discounted for age or use).
  • Be very clear about what the policy will and will not cover, and how the deductibles work (the part you pay before the policy pays).
  • Check state-operated or federally operated insurance pools if you find it difficult to obtain private coverage because of a recent disaster. Premiums often run higher than market rates, but this is better than no coverage.
  • Conduct a home inventory, make a list, and use it to check that your policy's coverage matches the value of your possessions.

If You Rent...

  • Buy renter's insurance, which pays for damaged, destroyed, or stolen personal property. Your landlords insurance wont cover damage to or loss of your possessions. Also, consider special coverage like flood insurance for your belongings.
  • Be clear about what a policy will cover. Some policies cover more than others. For example, will the policy pay for living expenses if you have to live somewhere else temporarily, or for damage from sewer backup?
  • Comparison shop for the best coverage at the best price. Policies vary from company to company. Policies in most areas are very affordable. Start with the company that insures your car. Discounts are often available if you carry more than one policy with a company.

You may also want to consider special coverage as insurance for renters and homeowners won't cover certain types of losses. Ask your insurance agent or financial planner about special or additional coverage for floods, earthquakes, home offices, and other potential problems.


Advanced Restoration Corporation is a full-service property damage/disaster restoration company that has been serving Long Island and the New York metropolitan area for over 20 years.

The company offers the highest quality residential, commercial and industrial property restoration and remediation services available. Our qualified and professional staff is capable of handling all aspects of fire & smoke damage, mold remediation and water damage. Emergency response teams are available 24/7 to promptly execute the required services for a customer.

Advanced Restoration is a member of multiple industry associations, including NYARM, BOMA, PIA, YIP, IICRC, NARI, NIDR and RIA. We are licensed in Nassau and Suffolk County, as well as the five boroughs of New York City.

Please contact Gary Matzelle at (516) 903-4107 with any questions, or send an email to [email protected] Our corporate website can be viewed at www.advancedrestoration.com.

Tags: disaster, property damage, water damage, water damage restoration, insurance, flood insurance, advanced restoration, homeowner tips, restoration company, flood damage, storm damage, water

Congrats to Gino Orrino...NY YIP Volunteer of the Year!

Posted on Fri, Jun 12, 2009 @ 10:02 AM

Congratulations to Gino Orrino from Advanced Restoration...

CONTACT: Melissa N. Cibelli, public relations specialistor Mary E. Christiano, director of communication (800) 424-4244Fax: (888) 225-6935E-mail: [email protected] site: www.pia.org/NY/FOR RELEASE: Jun. 8, 2009

Orrino named NY-YIP Volunteer of the Year

ATLANTIC CITY, N.J.–Gino Orrino, principal of Orrino Capital Services LLC in Corona, N.Y. received the New York Young Insurance Professionals Volunteer of the Year at the Professional Insurance Agents of New Jersey and New York Inc.’s Joint Annual Business Conference. The event was held at the Trump Taj Mahal Resort Casino in Atlantic City, June 7-9.
The award is bestowed by NY-YIP to an individual who is committed to improving the quality of events and programs of the organization by giving of their personal time so that others will benefit.

“Gino’s tireless commitment to NY-YIP is second to none,” said Amy Bryan, president of NY-YIP. “It is with great appreciation that we recognize him for what he’s done for our organization and industry.”

A NY-YIP member since 2005, Orrino is chairperson of the organization’s Events Committee. A major supporter of PIANY, Orrino is a member of the association’s Long Island Regional Awareness Program.

NY-YIP is an organization dedicated to the professional and personal growth of newcomers to the insurance industry. It is affiliated with PIANY, a trade association representing professional, independent insurance agencies and their employees throughout the state.

Tags: fire restoration, ny water damage company, nyyip, pia, volunteer of the year, insurance, advanced restoration, pia award

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