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The collapse of Florida raises insurance issues for other high-rise buildings



The tragic partial collapse of Champlain Towers in Surfside, Florida, could drive insurance markets for condominiums in the area from both real estate and liability perspectives, industry sources say.

To date, however, there have been no drastic changes. in an already hardening market when policyholders reach out with coverage issues, they say.

"We have no moratoriums issued for Florida or Miami," which means insurers have not issued any unilateral embargoes on business, says James "Chip" Stuart, a North American realtor for Hub International Ltd., based in Los Angeles. "I have not seen a price correction in recent weeks or any change in how insurers view the risk."

"There has been no knee-jerk reaction," said Richard Rodriguez, Miami-based, vice president and tenant-owner, internship manager at USI Insurance Services LLC. see that there will be many more questions from insurers in this industry class in the future, "Stuart said, adding that if a villa on the beach were to resemble the Champlain Towers structure," the insurer would probably ask a few more questions. "

" I think there will be some closer scrutiny of multi-story buildings, "said Doug Dierdorf, Group Leader of Associations with McGriff, part of Truist Insurance Holdings Inc., Sarasota, Florida.

Liability Insurance Issues, Including insurance limits, can also be a problem, Stuart said. If board members are sued, "do they have enough insurance?" he said.

The Champlain Towers building had about $ 48 million in property and liability protection, which a judge said was "inadequate" earlier this month.

"Board members are concerned about their responsibilities," Dierdorf said. "That's why volunteers are reluctant to join a board," he said, adding that board members probably have $ 1

million in coverage of board members and executives.

Before the collapse, tenant-owners had already seen interest rate increases and shrinking capacity.

“We are now in a very tough market. We have seen a change in the market but not linked to a catastrophic event, "said Rodriguez.

" Underwriters have withdrawn. There is less capacity and higher prices, "said Stuart.

The home insurance market in South Florida has had recurring insurance companies and takeovers in recent decades, says Rodriguez.

For example, American Capital Assurance Corp. was ordered in compensation for liquidation by the Second Judicial Circuit Court in Leon County, Florida, in April. The Florida Department of Financial Services is the court-appointed recipient of AmCap, according to information published on the department's website.

Sources agreed that it is too early in the investigation of the Champlain Towers incident to draw any firm conclusions about its effect.

"Until we have a cause for loss, it is too early to make any kind of speculation," Rodriguez said.

Mr. Dierdorf said he has received many calls and emails from policyholders with coverage issues after the collapse.

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