INSURANCE

The United States property insurance market has hardened significantly over the past decade.  

A "hardening" market means two things: 1) insuring property is more expensive and 2) generally fewer carriers available to insure property.

COLORADO: Toolkit for Homeowners and HOAs on Insurance 

FOUR PRIMARY drivers of increased property insurance premiums: 

1️⃣Catastrophic and other losses due to climate change | 2️⃣Construction costs | 3️⃣ Excessive litigation | 4️⃣ Reinsurance rates

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Q3 2024: ‘It’s not a matter of if; it’s a matter of when’: Lawmaker calls for property insurance reform before big hurricane hits, Citizens Tops 1.211M Policies

Florida homeowners dropping their insurance in face of high premiums, Grinding Debate: What Should Go Into the Garbage Disposal? 

Q2 2024: “They are drowning us”: the cost to insure a property in condominiums doubles, Insurance Crisis Worsens in Hawai‘i’s “Condoland”, Toolkit for Homeowners and HOAs on Insurance, Property Insurance and Disaster Risk: New Evidence from Mortgage Escrow Data, State board backs 13.5% average Citizens Insurance rate hikes for 2025, California Senate creates policy group to stabilize state's property insurance market, State Farm Seeks Enormous Rate Increases in California to Prevent Insolvency, Is condo living becoming a thing of the past? Insurance costs, HOA fees taking a toll, Study: Seattle area is unprepared for climate disasters

Banks Are Finally Realizing What Climate Change Will Do to Housing, The Financial Impact of Shifting Hurricanes Patterns in our Changing Climate, Big Jump in Insurance Costs Strikes Condos, Chicago area residents' homes still uninhabitable months after water main break

Washington will require insurers to reveal reasons for rate hikes

Insurers Are Spying on Your Home From the Sky, Home insurance cost hikes slowed at the end of 2023…

Q1 2024: Reduce insurance costs by 25%? South Florida backers push bill they say would do it, Climate change is threatening South Florida condo owners. The state should help them., House Speaker Saiki warns looming condo insurance crisis could snowball, State Farm discontinuing 72,000 home policies in California in latest blow to state market

West Des Moines condo residents gather one year after fire displaces families, Florida lawmakers pass Citizens Insurance changes

Many Florida insurance bills approved by Legislature aim to save homeowners money, Moved from Citizens to private insurance, some see rise in premiums

Florida lawmaker promises new bill would drop insurance rates like a rock, Coastal homeowners could see up to 99.4% insurance rate increase, 

The housing market is being hit by home insurance shocks; maps of the most vulnerable areas, Buying Home and Auto Insurance Is Becoming Impossible, 

Condo reserve rules and rising insurance costs could lead to foreclosure crisis. 'People are going to be losing their homes', 

How Florida lets insurance companies like Slide “cherry-pick” policies

Q4 2023: There's a Billion-Dollar Industry Between You and FEMA’s Flood Insurance, The Man at the Center of America’s Biggest Insurance Crisis, 

Climate Abandonment Areas Webinar Recording and Climate Abandonment Areas Slide Deck   

The hidden expense that's sucking $74 billion out of the economy

Q3 2023: The 9th National Risk Assessment: The Insurance Issue, Millions of U.S. properties are overvalued. Climate risk is one reason., What to know about California's new proposed rules for insurance companies, Citizens Insurance customers could see double-digit hikes, Stunned by a Citizens Insurance 'depopulation' letter? Here's what you need to know., Florida Citizens customers: Check mail or face costly insurance switch, High insurance rates are creating a crisis for Louisiana affordable housing development, How wildfire risk scoring puts WA homeowners in insurance jeopardy, Rates climbing for Louisiana's insurer of last resort

Senators take up looming insurance crisis as policy issuers flee Florida and California, Inside the rising costs of homeowners insurance policies in California

The sinking of California's insurance industry, Global Insured Losses from Natural Disasters Exceeded $130 Billion in 2022, Driven by Second-Costliest Event on Record Idalia's effect on rising insurance rates, Home insurers cut natural disasters from policies over climate risk

Largest U.S. Insurance Companies Now Claim ‘Climate Change’ is Behind Ending Coverage, Increase In Homeowner's Insurance Rates In Oklahoma

Ultra Rich Pay $620,000 to Shield Mega Mansions From Disaster Risk

Americans Are Bailing on Their Home Insurance, Protest broke out at a 55+ Florida community over skyrocketing home insurance premiums,

Middle class Americans are moving straight into fire and drought because they can't afford to live in the cities that are safer from climate change

How Florida let a top insurer abandon homeowners in their time of greatest need, California couple loses homeowners' insurance: they drained their swimming pool…

Why California and Florida Have Become Almost Uninsurable, Americans Are Moving Toward Climate Danger in Search of Cheaper Homes

Migration to Flood-Prone Areas Has More Than Doubled Since 2020, Florida Citizens policyholders may have to switch coverage

Americans flocked to Florida for low taxes and sunshine, but an under-the-radar cost of homeownership keeps rising: insurance

Florida homeowners insurance market shows signs of rebound amid market reforms, Ray of Sunshine: Florida Insurers Show Profit as Citizens Takeouts Rise

Homeowners insurance in Colorado skyrockets, Louisville condo owners see sevenfold increase, California senate committee addresses condominium insurance crisis, Florida Condo Association’s property insurance spiked nearly 1,000%, AAA Insurance set to drop ‘small percentage’ of FL homeowners

Florida Sells Bonds to Backstop Its Homeowner's Insurance Industry, What to Do When Your Home-Insurance Policy Isn’t Renewed

What Happens when Insurers Can't Get Insurance?

Q2 2023: Insurers Curb New Policies in Risky Areas Nationally, California is Becoming Uninsurable, Receivership is Expensive 

Florida high-rise condo owners feel financial pinch with rising assessments and insurance costs, Municipal $upport

Florida lawmakers aim to ease condo confusion, but money questions remain

Q1 2023: Farmers Insurance pulls out of Florida, affecting 100,000 policyholders (Mar '23), Inundated (Feb '23)

2022: Insurance Calamity and Uphill Battle, Florida Condominium Safety Reforms, Champlain South Collapse Upends Florida Condo Insurance

What Insurance Coverage Does my Association Carry?

Your association's insurance varies based on your declaration of covenants, conditions and restrictions (CC&Rs) and your state statutes.  Washington and many other states require specific scope for property insurance that serves as primary in the event of a loss and for other types of insurance such as director and officer's (D&O) coverage.  Notably, regardless of your state, individual units / homes are often responsible for paying in-unit claim deductibles.

The Damage / Loss Flow Chart below is one example applicable condominium communitiesYour governing documents may have different requirements.


MULTI-FAMILY PROPERTY INSURANCE REMINDERS

1) unit owners/homeowners are almost always responsible for in-unit/home losses up to the association's primary insurance deductible

> IF something in Unix X causes a loss, Unit X is probably responsible for costs up to the association's primary insurance deductible

2) except for #1, responsible parties for losses within a deductible limit are generally in proportion to the areas damaged

3) governing documents typically require owners to carry insurance that covers any potential deductibles and loss assessments for ANY insurance coverage held by the Association including optional coverage such as earthquake and earth movement


4) While a Board often has discretion to file claim, the responsibility to restore a loss is governed by statute and your declaration.


>>> Does your association MONITOR and ENFORCE owners' insurance requirements?  This is a commonly overlooked risk.  <<<


>>> DOES your Declaration + Master Policy: INCLUDE or EXCLUDE equipment, improvements, and betterments within units?  <<<

Does Your Association's Insurance Match the Requirements of your Declaration / CC&Rs?!

An association's violation of its own governing documents to procure specific insurance coverage does not bind an insurance company to cover losses outside of the policy actually purchased / in force.

Farmers’ App. Vol. II p. 116 (emphasis added). Though it appears that the condominium association may have failed to fulfill its obligations under the Declaration, we conclude that it is of no moment. The trial court did not err in granting summary judgment to West Bend.

H06 "WALLS-IN" COVERAGE BREAKDOWN

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Want to know more?  VIEW INSURANCE EXPLAINER







EXAMPLE DAMAGE / LOSS FLOW CHART

Understand the difference between gross negligence / willful misconduct and ordinary negligence.

Statutory provisions in some states extend owners' liability beyond insurance deductible limits.

WA STATE INSURANCE EXPLAINER

EXAMPLE Insurance Coverage Explainer

KEY TERMS & COVERAGES

Key Terms / Insurance Coverages

Business insurance is a general term that includes a gamut of different coverages.

General Liability insurance covers certain types of bodily injury and other liabilities.  Many General Liability policies include $5,000 of no-fault liability coverage where the insurance carrier pays up to $5,000 without the need for litigation.  

Workers' Compensation insurance often excludes volunteers.  Five states (North Dakota, Ohio, Washington, West Virginia, and Wyoming) run their own programs for workers' comp coverage.   Washington State Department of Labor & Industries (L&I) does not offer coverage for volunteers.

Many CICs do not realize that they possess little to no insurance coverage for bodily injuries incurred by their volunteers.


READ:  What Is Not Covered by a D&O Insurance Policy? 

READ:  Does my Association Really Need D&O Liability Insurance?

___________________________________________

Washington State Administrative Code (WAC) clarifies statutes related to workers' compensation and risk classifications.  

Condominium and HOA employees are generally included with either Classification 4904 (clerical) OR the much broader (more expensive) Classification 4910 (property management services).

WA State L&I also tracks hourly wage rates for specific risk classifications that may receive alternative forms of non cash-compensation2022's average wage for class 4910 = $33.50/hour. 

Notably, according to WAC 296-17-31018(4), many classifications (incl. 4910) exclude coverage for alterations and new construction.  

Alterations are changes made to a building during its remodeling, such as increasing or reducing floor area, making or closing openings, erecting or demolishing walls, etc. 

WA Employers' Guide to Workers' Compensation Insurance

Washington State: Workers' Compensation Coverage

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What type of job is the employee going to perform?  [These are examples from Washington State]


If they are performing jobs that are maintaining or repairing the existing property, such as replacing windows, plumbing, flooring, or repainting, you would report them in 4905 (Motels and Hotels) or 4910 (Property and Building Management Services)See below.  Washington State Risk Class Lookup


If they are performing jobs adding new construction or altering the interior of an existing building from an earlier condition (remodeling), or enlarging an existing structure by building and attaching rooms (new addition), you would report them in the applicable construction classification. See examples below.


EXAMPLES


SPECIAL NOTE

Construction contractors who own and manage their own rental properties must report all construction, maintenance and repair activities in the applicable construction classification for workers preparing properties for initial occupancy or to sell. When properties are ready for  occupancy, any future maintenance and ordinary repairs performed by the construction contractor’s workers may be reported in 4910, if applicable.


Washington State: Insurance for Volunteers

Learn how Volunteers Are (NOT) Covered

Volunteers RCW 51 & WAC 296-17-930
Volunteer Coverage, WAC, Policy 61.01, Including Reporting

Example INSURANCE LANGUAGE

EXAMPLE Damage & Loss Language for your Declaration
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