Category Archives: Insurance

Coastal Flooding

Coastal Flooding

Coastal flooding

Coastal Flooding is becoming a big and bigger issue around the world. The following is a good article on the subject.

http://www.iamagazine.com/strategies/read/2016/05/11/beyond-fema-flood-maps-what-to-tell-your-coastal-customers

The next big question is whose responsibility is it going to be to inform a potential buyer that the home they are about to purchase lies in one of these areas. While it may be common knowledge to people who live in the area, an out-of-town purchaser may not know or even think to ask about this. In Florida, many homeowners are finding that, due to coastal flooding, when they go to make renovations to their home, depending on the cost of that renovation, that they may have to raise the elevation of their home. That usually costs more than the renovation itself.

Coastal Flooding is an issue that should not be taken lightly by anyone in the industry, from real estate agents, mortgage lenders, title companies, appraisers, to home inspectors.

Posted by Bill Siegel Florida Home Inspection Team Inc.

Hurricane shutters

Do you have Hurricane shutters on you house? As we leave hurricane season this year it now becomes time to think about next hurricane season.  If you live in an older home that does not have protection, either with a shutter system or impact windows, the off-season is a good time to consider having them installed. Prices will be a little bit less expensive and you can go into next season knowing that you have fortified you home and protected not only your home, but your family. Not only that, but you may qualify for wind mitigation discounts, which will lower your insurance premium.

The following is a guide put out by the IBHS:

• <img class=“alignleft size-full wp-image-113381” src=“https://i2.wp.com/floridahomeinspectionteam.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/08/images.jpg?resize=249%2C202” alt=“Specific parts of home inspections in Miami, FL” width=“249” height=“202”>

Posted by Bill Siegel. Florida Home Inspection Team Inc. 305-490-2513. Miami Home Inspector

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Hurricane Retrofit for Wind Mitigation

• <img class=“alignleft size-full wp-image-113381” src=“https://i2.wp.com/floridahomeinspectionteam.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/08/images.jpg?resize=249%2C202” alt=“Specific parts of home inspections in Miami, FL” width=“249” height=“202”>I recently got called to do a wind mitigation for a past client who was replacing his roof in Hollywood Florida. During the roof replacement he decided to have his roof fortified by adding hurricane straps. This was an older home, built-in the 1960’s, and by insurance definition, it only had toe-nails, which did not qualify him for mitigation discounts. He sent me pictures and asked me to make a trip to the property. His main goal was to lower his insurance rate.

After looking at the pictures I told him there was not need to go to his house. The straps that were installed were done completely wrong. Whoever was installing these straps did not pull a permit, and there was not engineering report. Per the Florida Building Code any alterations t the truss system of the structure must be designed by a registered design professional.

2010 Florida Building code, Building: 2303.4.5 Alterations to trusses.

Truss members and components shall not be cut, notched, drilled, spliced or otherwise altered in any way without written concurrence and approval of a registered design professional. Alterations resulting in the addition of loads to any member (e.g., HVAC equipment, piping, additional roofing or insulation, etc.) shall not be permitted without verification that the truss is capable of supporting such additional loading

• <img class=“alignleft size-full wp-image-113381” src=“https://i2.wp.com/floridahomeinspectionteam.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/08/images.jpg?resize=249%2C202” alt=“Specific parts of home inspections in Miami, FL” width=“249” height=“202”>

• <img class=“alignleft size-full wp-image-113381” src=“https://i2.wp.com/floridahomeinspectionteam.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/08/images.jpg?resize=249%2C202” alt=“Specific parts of home inspections in Miami, FL” width=“249” height=“202”>

The purpose of a retrofit is to strengthen the structure and give added protection in a high wind event, such as a hurricane.

The work done on this house does not provide any such protection. This is something that is happening all to often in our industry. People are paying for things that do not comply with the code, and thinking that they are making their homes safer, when in fact all they have done is give themselves a false sense of security and wasted money. Yes, they might wind up saving money on their insurance premium, but at what risk? There will always be an inspector that will blindly pass this as compliant to make money, just as the contractor did not correctly install an approved system for uplift. 

If you are going to have your truss system retrofitted, please find a competent contractor that will follow the rules. Permits should be pulled and must be engineering documents. This will cost more than the way this roof was done, but you will be safe in a high wind event. Also, if those straps pull off, and it can be determined that they  were incorrectly installed, this could affect your insurance claim.

Posted by Bill Siegel. Florida Home Inspection Team Inc. 305-490-2513 (Home inspector Miami Fl)

will5443

April 13, 2016

It recently came to our attention that many homeowners may not be getting the proper credits after their wind mitigation report is filled out and sent to the insurance carrier. This comes from improper training and information from the insurance industry, as well as the instructors who are teaching these courses. What is going to be addressed below is houses built to the FBC (Florida Building Code) or SFBC (South Florida Building Code). This form was actually created for homes built before these codes went into effect.

The biggest issues arise from question number 1: Was the home-built to the FBC (Florida Building Code) or SFBC (South Florida Building Code), depending on the location and date the home was built. We recently learned that almost all insurance carrier have software programs, that, when they properly enter the information for question 1, will automatically propagate and fill in questions 2-6. When an inspector goes out and checks boxes for questions 2-6, he may be taking credits away from a homeowner that they were already set to get.

How can this happen. First, it depends on the software programs. They can be set to override the credits if put in manually. The easiest credit to explain would be the roof to wall attachment, question number 4. If your home was built to the SFBC or FBC you should already be getting the strongest credit possible. Just because a strap does not wrap over the top of the truss with a nail on the other side does not mean that your home does not meet the maximum uplift. There are many different engineered straps that do not meet the requirement listed on the form that meet, or exceed the what the form asks for. That was a requirement of the codes at that time. The only way to know that your house does NOT meet those requirements would be to pull the originals plans and specifically check the straps that were to be installed against the plans.

Another area where consumers may be loosing credits is number 5, roof geometry. If the house was built to the codes listed in the report, they were required to meet certain uplift criteria. It would take an engineering analysis to prove otherwise. Also, many homes have block walls this applies to homes built before these codes) on the gable ends. These walls are much stronger than wood frame gable end walls, and should receive the highest rating.

Question #7 on the form is the only question that might need to be verified. and this would be a check to verify that all the shutters are present, or, if windows and doors have been replaced, that they are all impact rated. The code at the time required impact rating, but many times the panels are missing.

Changes within this form will not be easy. It will cost over a million dollars to change the form,or at least that is what we have been told. It is going to come down to the consumer’s to call and challenge their credits if they think they are wrong. As an instructor of this course I have changed my teaching of this form, but it will take time to take effect. I only have a very small percentage of inspectors that I teach, the other instructor’s have not changed their methodology of teach (at least that I am not aware of), and for those of us that send in the form and do not check all the boxes, the form will most likely get returned. This will be an uphill battle that can only be won by consumers speaking out, challenging their forms, or contacting their legislators. If we can create attention to this we can solve the problem.

Posted by Bill Siegel. Florida Home Inspection Team Inc. 305-490-2513. Miami Home Inspector

Controversial code change & your impact windows

CaptureThe following video talks about a change in the energy code that affects impact windows here in Florida. This change could actually cost consumers money in the short and long run.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BBMBk_5zuJI

Posted by Bill Siegel Florida Home Inspection Team Inc. 305-490-2513. Miami Home Inspector

New Construction Defects

This was a new home inspected earlier this month. All permits had been signed off on by the city.  I am sure there were other defects that were hidden, but here is a list of defects found. It’s a good thing this house did not need to have a wind mitigation report done, as it would have failed questions #1.

The front overhang was no installed properly. it was leaning to the right. It either was not tied in properly or there should have been a support post installed.

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The main water shut off valve did not function. Water flowed in both the on and off position.

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The dining room outlets were tied into the kitchen outlet, which was supposed to be GFCi protected, but was not. The plans for this were sitting on the counter. The dining room outlets were supposed to be AFCI protected.

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The AC condensate line was supposed to be terminated 12 inches from the wall. It was less than six inches.

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There were missing framing screws in some of the windows.

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Posted by Bill Siegel. Florida Home Inspection Team Inc. 305-490-2513. Miami Home Inspector

Citizens Property Insurance Corporation Fails Floridians

Citizens Property Insurance Corporation Fails Floridians

Citizens Property Insurance Company should devote more time and resources to education, training, and properly and promptly handling property insurance damage claims instead of hiring teams of lawyers “experts”. Citizens wants to avoid paying for covered damages in the homeowners policies by any means necessary. In related news, for three years, Citizens has been depopulating. Sending and shipping off the policyholders to other “brand new” and “financially new” insurance companies so it won’t be so exposed to so many homes when a hurricane hits. But now Citizens says it doesn’t have enough money in the bank and it is raising rates again.

Ten years after Hurricane Wilma

It has been ten years since a hurricane affected Florida and yet Citizens keeps raising its rates and showing the public it is doing an incredibly poor job with claims and financials. Well, now it is yelling from the roof tops it is in a claims crisis. How can this be? Citizens says it has only had a 5% increase in water claims and yet they call that a crisis. The State of Florida is filled with homeowners paying premiums and every homeowner pays an additional surcharges to the company (even if not insured with Citizens) just to make sure it can handle the potential of multiple hurricane claims in a single year, but now the corporation is panicked about pipe break claims in one or two counties. I smell a rat and I am not alone.

As reported in the Tampa Bay Business Journal, “[t]he Citizens Board of Governors on Wednesday unanimously agreed to move forward with the changes involving how water-damage claims are handled.”1

Be on the lookout for policies that again strip away coverage for your home. The corporation doesn’t want to pay for pipes that burst or property that gets damaged in your home. This comes after Citizens already attempted to strip coverage for water damage hidden in your walls from a pipe break and excluded damage to your carports from a hurricane or falling tree.

Sun Sentinel columnist, Michael Mayo, evaluated the reported increased water claims and reported:

I think Citizens is spinning hard and the reality is more nuanced.

Bottom line: Water claims in South Florida have dropped in the last two years (from 22,202 in 2012 to 9,293 in 2014). But last year’s cost ($200 million) looks high because the total includes claims from previous years that were settled in 2014. And the sharp drop in Citizens customers means the per-policy payout average increases dramatically.

This post from September let us know what was on the horizon: Reduced Coverage and High Premiums for Floridians…Again.

In October, the Tampa Bay Times reported that “Even if Florida gets blasted by four hurricanes in one season as it did a decade ago, 67 Florida-based insurance companies tested by the state have enough of a financial cushion to handle the damage…” Check out Report shows that Florida Based Insurance Companies are Strong.

These reports make it clear that Citizens policyholders are in real trouble when the next hurricane comes ashore. So the question is where did Citizens put the money?


1 http://www.bizjournals.com/tampabay/blog/morning-edition/2015/12/citizens-insurance-seeks-changes-for-water-claims.html (last accessed on Dec. 12, 2015).

Posted by Bill Siegel. Florida Home Inspection Team Inc. 305-490-2513. Miami Home Inspector