A New Flood In Florida
Mar 16, 2016

LEAD STORY

Amid calls by Florida lawmakers for more private flood insurance options, Homeowners Choice Property and Casualty Insurance Company, Inc. formed TypTap, the first regulated company licensed only for flood insurance.  Florida property owners are looking to TypTap to offer primary flood coverage through a quicker quoting process at higher coverage limits. 

WHO NORMALLY PROVIDES COVERAGE?

Standard insurance policies do not cover flooding.  The National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) is a Federal program that works with private insurance coverage to provide flood insurance.  However, the NFIP has incurred $24 billion in debt after Hurricane Katrina and Superstorm Sandy.  Now, property owners have seen premiums jump up to 25% in high-risk zones. 

WHAT ELSE DOES NFIP DO?

Besides providing flood insurance, the NFIP works to improve floodplain management by working with communities to regulate development in their mapped floodplains.  Premiums set by the NFIP had historically been below private market pricing.  In response to this, Congress passed several pieces of legislation to strengthen the NFIP and to ensure it’s more fiscally sound.

A PEEK DOWN THE WAY

The NFIP’s authorization is set to expire in September 2017 but the Housing and Insurance Subcommittee of the House Financial Services Committee already held two hearings to discuss the state of the flood insurance market.  The last hearing addressed legislative concepts to create a competitive flood insurance market.  If talks keep moving in this way, maybe we’ll see more carriers and more competition flood the market. 

CURBING OPIOID ABUSE

MASSACHUSETTS SIGNS OPIOID BILL

This week Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker signed opioid legislation that imposes a seven-day limit on initial opioid prescriptions.  H. 4056 passed both the House and Senate unanimously last week.  Gov. Baker said opioid overdoses kill four people per day in Massachusetts and pushed for the legislation.  The legislation also gives patients the ability to fill only part of their opioid prescriptions at a time and sets an evaluation requirement within 24 hours for overdose victims seeking help at hospital emergency rooms. The bill is effective immediately.

NATIONAL

The U.S. Senate passed the Comprehensive Addiction and Recovery Act (CARA) (S. 524), which would authorize grants to state and local governments to address prescription opioid and heroin abuse.  As reported in ABC’s 20/20 special, “Breaking Point Heroin in America”, four out of five heroin users began with prescription painkillers.  Some of the provisions of CARA are to create or expand treatment alternatives to incarceration programs, utilize medication-assisted treatments and strengthen prescription drug monitoring programs.  As America struggles to combat prescription opioid abuse, we’ll keep close watch on this as it moves to the House for consideration.

MAKING OUR WAY AROUND THE COUNTRY

MAINE

The Maine Department of Labor (DOL) released its annual report on drug use in the workplace.  Every employer with a DOL-approved drug testing policy is required to report its testing activities annually, which includes both job applicants and employees.  This year’s report notes an all-time high of positive results at 5 percent. Commissioner of Labor Jeanne Pacquette stated that the DOL supports legislation (L.D. 1384) that would improve workplace safety by simplifying and improving employers’ substance abuse policy requirements.

UTAH

Both the Utah Senate and House unanimously passed S.B. 216, which would allow self-insured employers and carriers to negotiate reimbursement rates with hospitals.  If a self-insured employer or carrier has not entered into a contract for the period between May 10, 2016, and July 1, 2018, then they would be responsible to reimburse the hospital for covered medical services at 85% of the hospital’s billed rate.  Gov. Gary Herbert now has 20 days from March 11th to sign or veto the bill or it will become law without his signature.

DAYLIGHT SAVINGS

For those of us still adjusting to daylight savings time, keep alert.  More accidents happen the week of daylight savings as our bodies get used to the time change.

ANOTHER SUPER TUESDAY (A.K.A. SEPARATION TUESDAY)

Too busy catching up on X-Files last night?  This way to the election results.

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