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Hurricane Irma’s historic size and impact have been felt throughout the state. In addition to its impact on Floridians and their property, Hurricane Irma has the potential to impact your insurance after the fact. It is important to make sure you have the proper coverage in place before accepting projects outside your normal scope of operations; leasing and operating new equipment; or hiring new sub-contractors.

Below are several important post Hurricane Irma considerations to make.

WORKERS’ COMPENSATION: Employees may be working extensive overtime hours or you may be hiring temporary sub-contractors.

  • Consider increasing payroll exposures now so your work comp audit is not negatively impacted at year end. Be sure to break out overtime pay so that at the time of the premium audit, the auditor will be able to discount it back to straight time. If the auditor cannot readily break out the overtime portion, it will be used in calculating the premium.
  • If hiring temporary workers or sub-contractors, make sure those workers have insurance and obtain proof of coverage. If hiring a subcontractor who does not have workers’ compensation coverage or it gets cancelled and one of the sub’s employees gets hurt, the responsibility for that injury can fall to you. This will ultimately impact your work comp experience mod and insurance premium. It’s the same situation when hiring an exemption holder.­ If that exemption expires and the subcontractor does not renew it in a timely fashion, that sub is no longer exempt.­ If he/she is hurt on the job, a claim can be filed against your company to cover the injury.­ To quickly look up the status of a sub-contractor’s work comp insurance, you can do so here: Search for Proof of Compliance
  • If undertaking or bidding projects outside of your normal scope of operations ensure you are aware of the appropriate class codes and rates for that work.  Workers’ Compensation class codes are specific to the type of work being performed, and the rates can vary greatly.  New or complimentary operations often require additional class codes being added to your WC policy.  Make sure you’re aware if the new class code comes with a higher rate, so there will be no surprises at the year-end audit.

 

EQUIPMENT FLOATERS & INLAND MARINE: Leasing & operating temporary equipment could put you at risk. 

  • If you lease temporary equipment, then you should verify the limits of your insurance coverage and possibly increase your coverage limits.
  • Unusual equipment often requires special coverage. In addition, renting equipment with an operator will require proof of insurance for the operator as well. Some equipment, such as cranes or lift trucks with large booms require special coverage and needs to be discussed with your Account Manager or Client Advisor to ensure it is properly covered for weight of load, tipping, etc.
  • In addition, if you are renting a crane with an operator, the rental company should be providing the coverage – for the equipment, employee (workers’ comp), and any associated general liability for operating the crane. Be sure to review the rental agreement with your Client Advisor or Account Manager to make sure that you are protected and that you obtain proof of coverage from the crane company.

 

MOLD: Do not end up with a mold-related lawsuit; have the proper coverage in place. 

  • With hurricane related water damage, inevitably comes mold. If you become involved in any mold mitigation projects, make sure to have proper pollution and professional coverage in place. Without it, you will not be covered against claims from removal, disposal, or cleanup work.

 

GENERAL LIABILITY: Policy exclusions may impact the scope of work you are taking on.  

  • For companies that have never worked on residential projects and might be taking on that type of work following Hurricane Irma, it is important to note that you may have policy exclusions that restrict your coverage.  Sub-contractors may also have exclusions to their policies for residential, condo, or multi-family work, so it’s critical to verify there are none of these exclusions on your or your sub-contractors’ General Liability policy, prior to performing any of this work.

 

It is important to discuss these considerations with your trusted Client Advisor or Account Manager at Gulfshore Insurance to ensure you have the proper protection. If you have any questions or concerns regarding this information, please contact us. We are here to assist you and happy to answer any questions you have.

As the community works to recover in the aftermath of Hurricane Irma, so does Gulfshore Insurance. We are currently working to restore operations and hope to reopen our offices on Tuesday, September 12th.

Our 24/7 Customer Service phone line remains open at this time. Please call our main line at (239) 261-3646 or (800) 793-5238 for assistance.

If you have experienced a loss as a result of the storm, please be sure to read this important information and take the necessary steps to file your claim. As a reminder, you can report your claim directly to your insurance carrier. Click here to obtain the necessary information.

  • Warning! Don’t Become a Victim of Insurance Fraud!
    An Assignment of Benefits is an agreement that transfers all insurance policy benefits and rights from you, the policyholder, to a third party such a contractor or repair vendor after damage has occurred to your property. An AOB is intended to help expedite the claims process and make things easier for the insured, but oftentimes, and AOB is fraudulently misused for repair vendors to seize control of the claims process with the intention of overcharging and inflating repair costs, often while keeping the insured in the dark. We recommend never signing an AOB and transferring your benefits to a vendor. If you have experienced damage from the Hurricane, please call your insurance company first or contact a member of our team. We are here to help!

 

We are here to serve you, our client. Please advise us if you are having difficulty with your claim so that we will be in a position to assist you. Do not hesitate to get in touch with us about any questions you may have concerning a loss. You can reach us at (239) 261-3646 or (800) 793-5238.

-The Gulfshore Insurance Team

Due to Hurricane Irma, Gulfshore Insurance’s offices will be closed as of Friday, September 8th in preparation for the storm’s arrival. We will reopen as soon as it is safe to do so.

Our 24/7 Customer Service phone line will remain open during the storm. Please call our main line at (239) 261-3646 or (800) 793-5238 for assistance.

Gulfshore Insurance will continue to provide updates to the community via our website, Facebook & Twitter accounts, and through media broadcasts as needed.

Dealing with the Aftermath of the Storm
In the event a loss occurs, you can report your claim directly to your insurance carrier. Visit the link below to obtain the necessary contact information. We recommend you print this list of claims phone numbers to reference in the event you are unable to access this information electronically after the storm has passed.

Report a Claim – Homeowners

Report a Claim – Businesses

Important Information Regarding Your Claim

Damage Assessment & Claims Reporting Reminders

  • Conduct an initial damage assessment
  • Take photos of any damaged property
  • Protect your property from further damage
  • Report your claim via the links above or by contacting Gulfshore Insurance with any questions
  • Maintain all receipts or bills

 

Warning! Don’t Become a Victim of Insurance Fraud! Do NOT Sign an AOB Contract!
An Assignment of Benefits is an agreement that transfers all insurance policy benefits and rights from you, the policyholder, to a third party such a contractor or repair vendor after damage has occurred to your property. An AOB is intended to help expedite the claims process and make things easier for the insured, but oftentimes, and AOB is fraudulently misused for repair vendors to seize control of the claims process with the intention of overcharging and inflating repair costs, often while keeping the insured in the dark. We recommend never signing an AOB and transferring your benefits to a vendor. If you have experienced damage from the Hurricane, please call your insurance company first or contact a member of our team. We are here to help!

 

While forecasts may change, we want to assure you that our Claims Advocates, Client Advisors, and Service Teams are standing by to assist you as needed. You can reach us at (800) 793-5238 or gsi@gulfshoreinsurance.com. Please stay safe if you are in the projected path.

As you stock up on water, sandbags, supplies, don’t forget to refill any prescriptions you might need. Even if you aren’t due for a refill, the state Office of Insurance Regulation has issued a notice to all health care providers that they are obligated to waive time restrictions of prescription refills.

On September 4, Governor Rick Scott declared a State of Emergency in those areas and counties that may be impacted by Hurricane Irma. To support our members who live in areas affected by the Declaration and to comply with state law, Insurance Companies will allow members to get their medications filled early upon request.

By statute, in the event of a declared state of emergency or a National Weather Service hurricane warning, insurers must authorize payment to pharmacies for at least a 30-day supply of prescribed medications. This statutory obligation has kicked in with the Governor’s Executive Order for Hurricane Irma, and Florida residents may refill their prescriptions early in all 67 counties.

The memo to insurers reads as follows:

Hurricane Irma – Early Prescription Refill Reminder Notice
DATE: September 5, 2017
TO: All Health Insurers, Managed Care Organizations and Other Health Entities
RE: Florida Law Reminder for Early Prescription Refills
DECLARATION OF EMERGENCY BY GOVERNOR
This notice is a reminder that all health insurers, managed care organizations and other health entities must comply with the provisions of section 252.358, Florida Statutes, which allows for early prescription refills in the event that the Governor issues an Executive Order declaring a State of Emergency or when a county Emergency Operations Center (EOC) is activated. This mandate remains in effect until the Governor’s Executive Order is rescinded or expires. See below for reference materials:
Florida Statute language:
Section 252.358 – Emergency-preparedness prescription medication refills.
—All health insurers, managed care organizations, and other entities that are licensed by the Office of Insurance Regulation and provide prescription medication coverage as part of a policy or contract shall waive time restrictions on prescription medication refills, which include suspension of electronic “refill too soon” edits to pharmacies, to enable insureds or subscribers to refill prescriptions in advance, if there are authorized refills remaining, and shall authorize payment to pharmacies for at least a 30-day supply of any
prescription medication, regardless of the date upon which the prescription had most recently been filled by a pharmacist, when the following conditions occur:
(1) The person seeking the prescription medication refill resides in a county that:
(a) Is under a hurricane warning issued by the National Weather Service;
(b) Is declared to be under a state of emergency in an executive order issued by the Governor; or
(c) Has activated its emergency operations center and its emergency management plan.
(2) The prescription medication refill is requested within 30 days after the origination date of the conditions stated in this section or until such conditions are terminated by the issuing authority or no longer exist. The time period for the waiver of prescription medication refills may be extended in 15- or 30-day increments by emergency orders issued by the Office of Insurance Regulation. This section does not excuse or exempt an insured or subscriber from compliance with all other terms of the policy or contract providing prescription medication coverage. This section takes effect July 1, 2006.
The Governor has issued an emergency order for all counties and many counties have activated their EOC’s.
PLEASE BE GOVERNED ACCORDINGLY

The Office of Insurance Regulation has received the 2018 Florida workers’ compensation rate filing by the National Council on Compensation Insurance (NCCI), which proposes a statewide average premium decrease of 9.6%. This includes a statewide average rate decrease of 9.3% and a reduction of the fixed expense cost applicable to every workers’ compensation policy in Florida from $200 to $160. The new rates would become effective January 1, 2018.

As always, the Office will review the filing to ensure the proposed changes are not excessive, inadequate, or unfairly discriminatory and evaluate its potential effects on the insurance marketplace and employers, who are required by law to carry this insurance on their employees. A public rate hearing will be conducted in October.

NCCI is a licensed rating organization authorized to make rate filings on behalf of workers’ compensation insurance companies in Florida. For more information about the filing, read the NCCI press statement.