May 19, 2011

ASI Applauds Senate Bill 408 Reforms

St. Petersburg, FL (May 19, 2011) - American Strategic Insurance (ASI), a company with a proud and longstanding commitment to serving the policyholders of Florida and voted one of Florida’s best companies to work for, applauds the reforms contained in Senate Bill 408.  ASI commends the legislature for its bipartisan support of this bill in both the Senate and the House.  ASI further commends Governor Rick Scott for signing the bill and beginning the movement toward a more stable property insurance market for Floridians.

As stated by Florida’s Insurance Commissioner, Kevin McCarty, “this bill focuses on addressing cost drivers in the system and will yield long-term benefits for Florida by stabilizing the property insurance market and attracting new capital investment to our state.”

And, as stated by bill sponsor State Senator Garrett Richter, “(the bill) closes loopholes that invite fraudulent claims by restricting misleading advertising and misleading solicitations. It also attacks cost drivers in an effort to responsibly lower insurance premiums. With hurricane season quickly approaching, this legislation is critical to ensure a solvent industry that policyholders can rely on.”

As a summary of the bill, sponsor State Representative John Wood, stated that CS/CS/CS/SB 408 (HB 803) specifically provides for the following reforms:

Program Highlights:

  • Increases insurer surplus to help improve the ability to pay claims.
  • Adopts prevailing national standard that requires partial losses to a homeowner's property to be repaired without requiring the homeowner to advance any funds. If there is a total loss, the insurance company is required to pay the full replacement value in one lump sum.
  • Expands choices for homeowners in the purchase of replacement cost coverage for contents coverage and requires premium discounts if the homeowner chooses reduced coverage.
  • Requires insurers to continue to offer sinkhole insurance to Floridians.
  • Reforms the sinkhole claims process to reduce frivolous claims.
  • Provides a time frame for sinkhole damaged property to be repaired.
  • Requires disclosure of additional sinkhole claim information so future home buyers are informed about the history of the property they are purchasing.
  • Improves the sinkhole neutral evaluation process to encourage resolution of sinkhole claims without litigation.

ASI's President and Chief Executive Officer, John Auer, said, "ASI is committed to Florida and its policyholders. ASI is open for business throughout the state and is excited that the Florida legislature and Governor Scott have taken this good step toward restoring financial stability to the Florida property insurance market."

ASI, headquartered in St. Petersburg, Florida, is the fourth largest property insurer in Florida and currently insures over 287,000 Floridians. ASI has more than $650 million in written premiums countrywide and nearly $300 million in surplus. ASI is rated A- (Excellent) by A.M. Best Company. For the latest rating, access www.ambest.com.

To learn more about ASI, visit www.americanstrategic.com.