Sterling Surplus Underwriters is proud to announce the launch of FIX (Flood Insurance Xchange), which allows you to receive a Quote and Declaration Page in less than 10 minutes. FIX is a highly interactive quoting engine for coastal flood insurance in the US, offering multiple carriers and multiple solutions in one incredible location.
Sterling Surplus Underwriters has been the industry choice for Private Flood Insurance placement since 2008, offering boutique flood products including; CBRA Flood, Excess Flood, Deductible Buyback, and FloodSeal. Dedicated to solving problems for flood related issues, Sterling Surplus Underwriters creatively packaged a program offering bank-accepted coverage for risks located in coastal flood zones.
“In addition to solving flood related issues in the market, we also focused on the customer experience with service standards for Retail Agents,” said Brad Moncrief, Owner of Sterling Surplus Underwriters. “We understand that our clients are depending on a comprehensive product at a fair price, offered quickly and accurately for the benefit of everyone involved. This has been a constant focus for Sterling and continues to be today with the release of FIX. We have the most expansive dedicated in-house flood binding authority in the industry, which allows us to quote and bind risks within 24hours and often times sooner. We know that we have created a product that makes it easier for our agents to write business. And at the end of the day, we want to help our customers work smarter.”
At Sterling Surplus, we work hard to stay in the forefront of technology while keeping our agents in mind. We are proud to release FIX (Flood Insurance Xchange) that offers:
We felt strongly about our product, but when an agent, Sarah from Alabama says things like; “The ability to rate online and make changes while clients were on the phone really helped them make the decision. They were in a time crunch and had I not been able to quote them different options as quickly as your online quote platform allows, I think they would have walked. Thanks for creating this great program.” We know that we are helping make their jobs easier.
For more information regarding FIX or to sign up as an Agent, click here or contact Sterling Surplus Underwriters at firstname.lastname@example.org and be sure to follow us on Facebook and connect with us on LinkedIn.
Private Flood Insurance is top of mind as the Hurricane season approaches for many in coastal areas of the United States. The NFIP, which was created by congress in 1968, is set to expire in September 2017. Typically, congress would quickly sign a continuation of this program and everyone would just go on about their day. However, the NFIP will be nearly $25 billion in debt at the time it expires.
While no one likes to see anything fail, the NFIP has proven that it was an insufficient program from the start. With the issues of NFIP at hand, the door is opening more for carriers to enter the market and offer Private Flood Insurance to consumers at a time when they need it most. The Private Flood Insurance Market is also able to offer better policies, with more coverage, and multiple deductible options at a cheaper price.
Coastal Properties are the ones that are most at risk and with property values appreciating at an all time high, the NFIP limits are exceeded almost immediately. On top of that, the property is insured for only the actual cash value (acv) and does not take into account the replacement cost value (rcv) should a disaster strike. Private Flood Insurance companies entering the equation give property owners the ability to choose the limits and deductibles that they can withstand during catastrophic disasters.
Sterling Surplus Underwriters has been the industry leader for Private Flood placement since 2008. Dedicated to solving problems for flood related issues, Sterling Surplus Underwriters creatively packaged a program offering bank-accepted coverage for risks located in CBRA Zones throughout the Southeast. Sterling Surplus Underwriters has simplified the process even further by providing FIX (Flood Insurance Xchange) giving agents the ability to quote Private Flood Insurance Markets at their fingertips and receiving quotes, policies, and declaration pages in minutes.
What you need to know about Flood Insurance:
ACV vs RCV
When it comes to Coastal Flood Insurance, there are a number of variables to keep in mind. One thing to consider before making a final decision about purchasing a coastal flood insurance policy is Actual Cash Value, which is known as ACV for short, versus Replacement Cost Value, which is known as RCV for short.
Where contents are concerned, the NFIP will cover contents on an Actual Cash Value (ACV) basis. In contrast, private insurers will offer Replacement Cost Value (RCV) on contents.
Another factor to think about is additional structures. The NFIP does limit coverage for additional structures. In many cases, private insurers have the power to cover full limits for additional structures, on a Replacement Cost Value basis.
There are times where the NFIP policy that you have in place fits your needs, but you might also need additional limits of coverage for the structure. At this point, an Excess Flood Policy can be purchased to cover those additional limits needed to fully insure your property or to satisfy the bank or mortgage lending institution.
Businesses are just as susceptible to flooding as any building. Therefore, the NFIP offers a Commercial Flood Insurance policy as well. With the limited limits of the commercial NFIP, there are many instances where you would need to purchase an Excess Flood policy for your business as well. In situations where the policy limits, deductible, or exclusions are not something that business owners can afford or risk, there are a number of Private Flood Insurance carriers that are willing to look at a business risk and write a Private Flood Insurance Policy that typically offers higher limits, lower deductibles, lower premiums as well as offer an RCV value.
Loss of business income is a major factor in deciding what type or how much commercial flood insurance you may need. Private Flood Insurance carriers can offer Loss of Business Income coverage on their policies. It is definitely important to cover the structure and contents in the event of a flood, but there is also time and revenue lost during the clean-up and rebuilding that can be offset with a Private Flood Insurance Policy.
Opening U.S. flood insurance to private insurers won’t lead to a surge of new market entrants, Standard & Poor’s asserts in a new report.
Even if Congress passes legislation to make the change as it is widely expected to do, insurers have a number of obstacles to overcome first, the ratings agency said.
“They’ll need to surmount several difficulties in underwriting, modeling and pricing flood risk,” S&P said. “At this point, we don’t expect a wave of private insurers to sweep into this market but rather a trickle, as insurers would enter cautiously before they become more comfortable with the risks involved.
Right now, the National Flood Insurance program handles the bulk of flood insurance in the U.S.; it is a federal government option created to make flood insurance affordable in flood-prone areas. At the end of April, House members passed the Flood Insurance Market Parity and Modernization Act (H.R. 20901 unanimously, a measure designed to open the market to additional private insurers and give consumers more choices. The U.S. Senate is expected to consider the bill and observers believe it will be passed into law.
A.M. Best has said “there are benefits to be gained from a legitimate expansion of the current flood insurance market” that enables private insurers to join in. Standard & Poor’s notes that the NFIP is dealing with steep losses due to claims severity from previous floods, and points out that ongoing reforms to the program could encourage private insurers to join. S&P is more neutral, however, as to whether that would be a good thing.
“Although a few insurers have experience in flood insurance, many will have to improve their claims handling capabilities if they want to provide flood insurance in a significant way,” the S&P report noted. “As of now, we believe a slight increase in flood exposure wouldn’t significantly affect our financial strength rating on a given company.”
All bets are off, however, if private insurers were to make an aggressive grab for market share in the flood insurance space.
The House Financial Services Committee this morning approved a proposal intended to encourage more private insurers to write flood insurance.
The committee approved the Flood Insurance Market Parity and Modernization Act (H.R. 2901), which seeks to clarify that private insurance is to be treated the same as federal flood insurance in cases where homeowners with federally-backed mortgages are required to buy the coverage.
The measure was sponsored by Reps. Dennis Ross (R-Fla) and Patrick Murphy (D-Fla).
Supporters believe the bill will foster more competition in the flood insurance market, providing an alternative for 5 million property owners who rely on the U.S. government’s National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP), which is $23 billion in debt.
Supporters include the insurance industry, state insurance commissioners, as well as taxpayer and environmental groups including Taxpayers for Common Sense and SmarterSafer.
Sen. Dean Heller (R-Nev.) has sponsored a similar measure (S.1679) in the Senate.
The current mandatory purchase requirement does not require that the insurance coverage be provided under the NFIP, however, mortgage lenders have said they are uncertain that private flood coverage satisfies current regulations and have mostly only accepted NFIP policies. Thus the bulk of the business is written with NFIP.
The legislation would define as acceptable a policy issued by a private insurance company that is licensed, admitted, or otherwise approved in the state in which the insured property is located. A policy issued by a non-admitted insurer would also qualify.
Pennsylvania Insurance Commissioner Teresa Miller last month testified in favor of the bill on behalf of the National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC) before the House Subcommittee on Housing and Insurance.
Miller said that encouraging additional carriers into the market will provide consumers with additional flood insurance products.
“One of the obstacles that we’ve seen is that many lenders are reluctant to issue mortgages for homes with private flood insurance because they are not sure the coverage meets the requirements of the federal government,” the commissioner testified. “H.R. 2901 would remove that obstacle by requiring lenders to accept private flood insurance if it meets certain coverage criteria and is subject to supervision by state insurance regulators.”
She said that Pennsylvania is already seeing examples of private carriers offering comparable coverage at a lower cost than the NFIP.
Calling the recent flooding event in Louisiana one of the most significant natural disasters in the United States, catastrophe modelling firm RMS said flood insurance participation is low in the parishes most affected by floods. Flooding since Aug. 11 has been particularly severe in the parishes of Livingston, where around 39,000 homes have been flooded; Ascension, where 15,000 homes flooded; East Baton Rouge and Tangipahoa.
Approximately 12 percent of businesses and homes in East Baton Rouge Parish and Tangipahoa Parish are covered by flood insurance, according to RMS. In Ascension and Livingston parishes approximately 23 percent of properties are covered by flood insurance. Only 1 percent of property owners in St. Helena Parish hold flood insurance.
RMS said that the many properties sustaining flood damage that are either uninsured or underinsured for flood are expected to rely on federal disaster grants in parishes declared as major disaster areas.
The catastrophe modelling firm pointed out that even before the record rainfall that began on Aug. 11, the state had already been experiencing an extremely wet year.
“Louisiana was experiencing one of the top 20 wettest years on average leading up to this flood event. The already heavily saturated soil conditions have only helped to exacerbate the flooding, signifying the importance of having a view of flood risk that inherently reflects antecedent conditions pre-event. Doing so ensures that rainfall discharge, runoff, and inundation are captured as accurately as possible,” said Jeff Waters, a meteorologist and flood risk expert at RMS.