How is commercial property insurance calculated?

The right commercial property insurance will help ensure your business bounces back in the event of an accident or a disaster. But with so many different policies and coverage types, it’s hard to determine which one will provide the right coverage for your business. Replacement Cost coverage and Actual Cash Value coverage are two types of commercial insurance that differ in how they calculate the value of property lost in an unforeseen event.

property insurance

What is Replacement Cost in Commercial Insurance?

Replacement cost policies cover the cost to repair or replace a building with materials of the same or comparable quality. This type of coverage replaces and repairs items to their identical state, so it doesn’t include improvements required by building codes or laws passed since the building was built. It also doesn’t include the value of any land. It’s determined by the amount needed to hire contractors and purchase materials to repair or replace a building.

Theoretically, the replacement cost of a commercial property insurance policy should be lower than its market value. Replacement cost only has to account  for building materials and labor to determine compensation. However, the costs of material and labor can fluctuate. This makes it possible for the replacement cost of a property to be higher than its market value.

Replacement cost policies offer more financial protection in the event of a loss because they don’t take depreciation into account when determining compensations. However, this type of coverage is usually more expensive and may not be the best option for every property. Without continuous maintenance and renovations, the value of a building will generally depreciate over time. It may be better to opt for a less expensive policy that still protects the operations of your small business.

What Is Actual Cash Value in Commercial Insurance?

An actual cash value policy also covers the cost to replace or repair a property, but the rate of compensation accounts for the depreciated value of the original property. Commercial property covered under an actual cash value policy will be replaced or repaired using modern construction techniques and materials. Actual cash value policies generally have lower premiums than replacement cost policies and may make more sense for particular types of properties.

How Is Commercial Property Insurance Priced?

Replacement cost and actual cash value aim to make your business whole again after a loss. The difference lies in how the loss value is calculated. Here’s an example that highlights the difference between the two.

Calculating Actual Cash Value Policies

Suppose the owner of a cafe installed a large screen TV purchased for $1,000 four years ago. Then there was a theft, and the TV was stolen.

If the owner has an actual cash value policy:

The small business owner will receive the difference between $1,000 and the depreciation for the time he/she owned the TV. The insurance company determines the useful life of a TV is 10 years, so 10% depreciation would apply to the TV each year.

4 years x 10% per year = 40% depreciation

$1,000 x 40% = $400 depreciation

$1,000 – $400 = $600 actual cash value.

So the payment from the insurance company would be $600 minus any applicable deductibles.

Calculating Replacement Cost Policies

Now let’s consider that same example if the owner had a replacement cost policy.

The cafe owner would receive the total amount it would cost to buy the same (or a very similar) TV at a store today with a receipt. Using the same example from above, the insured would receive a check for $600 which is the actual cash value and – with a proof of purchase showing he’d bought the same or a very similar TV as a replacement – he would receive a second check for $400. Both checks total $1,000, or the replacement cost value. (The business owner would also factor in any applicable deductibles.)

What’s Right for Your Business?

When deciding between replacement cost coverage and actual cash value coverage for your commercial property insurance policy, it’s important to review the exclusions carefully. The exclusions will determine if additional policies are necessary to meet your business’s specific needs. Also, some business loans have requirements for the type of coverage the business must have. Be sure to check with your lender for these requirements.

The specific elements of your business will also help determine which policy is right for you. For example, a store located in a very old building in a popular urban environment will not depreciate as quickly as a new office building located in a business park. The store is more location-sensitive and doesn’t require a specific type of building to operate. Thus an actual cash value policy with lower premiums may make more financial sense than a replacement cost policy with higher premiums.

If you’re still unsure which type of commercial property insurance is right for your business, contact one of our agents at Wallace, Welch & Willingham. Our insurance experts will help you determine the right coverage for your business.

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Top 10 Most Important Boating Safety Tips

young man on a boat as part of a graphic for the ace recreational marine insurance offering

As the weather warms up, many of us head to lakes, rivers, or the ocean to fish, waterski, cruise, and relax onboard a boat, yacht, or other personal watercraft. With nearly 12 million registered recreational boats in the United States, it’s no wonder the waterways are a popular place to go. But, before you head out with friends and family, take note of a few important safety tips.

1. Choose the right life jackets and make sure everyone wears one.

In approximately 80% of fatal boating accidents the cause of death was drowning. Of those, 83% weren’t wearing a life jacket. Insist that your crew and guests all wear a life jacket that fits them well. This can help them stay afloat in rough waters, protect them against hypothermia, and in some cases, keep their head above water.

All boats must be equipped with at least one Type I (off-shore life jacket), Type II (near-shore buoyancy vest), Type III (floatation aid), or Type V (special use device) personal floatation device for each person on board. Boats that are 16 feet or longer must have an additional Type IV throwable device as well.

2. Assemble a boat safety kit.

Having the right tools when you need them can spell the difference between a problem and an emergency. That’s why you should prepare a boat safety kit with common items you might need if something goes wrong. Some items to include:

  • First Aid Kit – For treating minor wounds and injuries.
  • Bucket – For bailing out water that’s come over the side.
  • Flashlight – For seeing in the dark if you’re stuck out at night without power.
  • Fire extinguisher – For putting out fires.
  • VHF Radio – For calling for help.
  • Personal Floatation Devices (PFDs) – For keeping people afloat if they’re stuck in the water.
  • Flares – For signaling your location in an emergency.
  • Duct Tape – For temporarily patching leaks.
  • Rope – For securing your craft or tying down loose objects in bad weather.
  • Whistle – For signaling your position or intention to other boats.

3. Never drink alcohol and go boating.

Alcohol use is a leading contributor to fatal boating accidents, causing approximately 15% of deaths each year. Stay sharp when you’re on the water by leaving the alcohol on dry land.

4. Take a boating safety course.

Only 13% of boating deaths occurred on vessels where the operator had received a nationally approved boating safety education certificate. You may even qualify for a reduced insurance rate if you complete a safety course. Contact your local Coast Guard Auxiliary, U.S. Power Squadron chapter, or visit for details.

5. Act before a storm hits.

Storm and hurricane forecasts and warnings are issued by the National Hurricane Center. Boaters can get information from VHF marine radios, commercial radios, television stations, and newspapers. As a boater, you need to be aware of these types of advisories and take action before a storm hits. Warnings range from small craft advisories, with winds of 18 knots or less, up to hurricane warnings with winds of 74 miles per hour (64 knots) or greater.

6. Register for a Maritime Mobile Service Identity (MMSI) number and get a VHF radio equipped with Digital Selective Calling (DSC) connected to your GPS.

When in coastal and inshore waters, these preparations help take the search out of search and rescue. DSC allows the VHF radio to transfer information digitally, and to instantly send a digital distress alert, which includes your exact position, to the Coast Guard upon activation of the emergency button. Part of the alert is the MMSI number, which will identify your vessel automatically.

7. Drive at a safe speed and follow all boating and safety navigation rules.

Excessive speed and improper lookout are two of the top contributing factors to boating accidents. Make sure you understand the local rules and laws of the waterway and follow them closely. Take note of visibility, traffic density, and proximity to navigational hazards such as shoals, rocks, or floating objects.

8. Put down the cell phone.

One of the top five contributing factors to boating accidents is inattention. Just like distracted driving on our highways, talking, texting, and other use of cell phones while boating is a growing problem on the water. Don’t contribute to this problem. Keep your eyes on the water ahead and around you.

9. Use a carbon monoxide detector.

All internal combustion engines emit carbon monoxide, a poisonous gas that can sicken you in seconds and kill you in minutes. Remember, you can’t see, smell, or taste CO, so know the symptoms (they’re similar to seasickness or alcohol intoxication).

10. Get a free vessel safety check.

Boats are complex machines and need regular maintenance to stay running smoothly and safely. The U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary and U.S. Power Squadron offer Vessel Safety Checks at no cost, so let their certified vessel examiners check your boat’s equipment and provide you with safety information before you go out on the water. Check with your marina or yacht club to find one in your area.

Protect Yourself and Your Vessel

At Wallace, Welch & Willingham, we specialize in marine insurance. We offer flexible plans for almost every type of boat or personal watercraft. Contact us online or call us at 727-522-7777 to find out what you need to stay safe in rough waters.

Updated on May 8, 2023. Read the original article on

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Does your business need commercial hurricane insurance?

Hurricane Season: What kind of insurance does your business need?

Hurricane season starts on June 1st and lasts through the end of November. What does that mean for your business? There are several types of insurance coverage available to help you stay protected from a hurricane – making wise decisions about your coverage could make or break your business if the wrong storm hits at the wrong time.

What Type of Insurance Covers Hurricanes?

Hurricane insurance coverage is normally provided in your property insurance policy. There are several types of coverage available, depending on your location, your proximity to the coastline, and your carrier.

Property Insurance Coverage for Hurricane Damage

All Peril – This is the most comprehensive coverage – covering everything except for what is specifically excluded in the policy.

Named Peril – This will cover ONLY what is specifically noted in the policy. It’s usually less expensive but offers more restrictive coverage.

Wind and Hail – This is the most restrictive of the three coverages and only covers damage caused by wind or hail.

All Peril, Named Peril, and Wind & Hail policies will have a deductible attached. It can vary from a dollar amount to a percentage amount. A deductible is the amount of loss paid by the policyholder before the insurance will begin.

Does My Business Need Flood Insurance for Hurricanes?

Water damage isn’t the same as wind or storm damage. Most commercial property policies exclude coverage for losses caused by rising water. However, much of the damage caused by hurricanes in coastal areas involves rising water which isn’t covered under most property insurance policies.

In cases where homes or businesses sustain concurrent wind and rising water damage, some insurers attempt to separate the covered wind damage from the uncovered rising water damage and pay what they owe. Other carriers deny the claims entirely citing the flood exclusion. Consequently, it’s essential to make sure you’re covered for both wind and rising water.

Does Business Interruption Insurance Cover Hurricanes?

Even if you have proper coverage under your property and flood policies, your business could be in danger. Could your business survive being closed and non-operational for 30 days or more during repair time? Most small businesses would have a hard time surviving that long of a closure, and it causes many to shut their doors.

Fortunately, business interruption insurance kicks in after the 72-hour deductible period. It can help you cover ongoing expenses and make up lost revenue while you’re getting back on your feet.

Make Sure You’re Protected

Make sure you’re covered this hurricane season – contact an agent at Wallace, Welch & Willingham or call us at 727-522-7777 to find out what your business needs to be fully protected.

Differences Between a Claims-Made and an Occurrence Policy

There are two types of property and casualty insurance policies: a claims-made policy and an occurrence policy. It’s important to understand the basics of each since the coverage type determines:

  • Whether or not your policy will respond to a claim
  • What your company’s responsibilities will be in the event of a claim
  • How much your premiums will cost, both now and in future renewal periods

Occurence versus claims made policy

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Understanding the Florida No-Fault Law

Understanding the Florida No-Fault Law

What is No-Fault Law?

The Florida No-Fault Motor Vehicle Law requires drivers to carry Personal Injury Protection (PIP) coverage as part of their auto insurance; this No-Fault coverage pays the insured’s bills, regardless of fault, up to the limit of the insurance (minimum limit is $10,000).

For example, after an accident, one’s No-Fault coverage would pay $10,000 towards personal recovery. Personal Injury Protection pays 80% of medical bills, 60% of lost wages, and 100% of replacement services costs (any service needed because of a loss of ability caused by the accident). 

It is important to note that PIP is not liability insurance and it benefits the insured only. This coverage follows the individual around the state of Florida, whether driving an owned, borrowed, or rented vehicle.

What is covered under No Fault Insurance?

A personal auto policy contains sections on liability coverage, medical payments coverage, uninsured motorist coverage, and other sections with general information regarding the policy (duties after an accident, general provisions, damage to your auto, endorsements, etc.).

Typical liability limits are split into three categories:

  • bodily injury per person
  • bodily injury per accident
  • property damage per accident.

What does 10/20/10 mean in insurance?

The minimum limit in Florida is 10/20/10—this means that the insured would receive $10,000 of bodily injury coverage per person, with no more than $20,000 paid per accident, and $10,000 of property damage coverage per accident.

Medical Payment limits apply per person per accident and act as primary coverage when the insured is driving an owned auto and secondary when the insured is driving a non-owned auto; typical limits are $500, $1,000, $2,000, and $5,000.

Uninsured motorist (UM) coverage protects the insured if they are not at fault in an accident with an uninsured or under-insured driver; UM limits cannot be greater than standard liability limits.

Where does No-Fault Coverage fit into my Auto Insurance Policy?

Personal Injury Protection (No-Fault Coverage) is a required endorsement (added coverage) to auto policies in the state of Florida and takes priority in paying the insured after an accident, regardless of fault.

If a driver holds basic PIP, $5,000 of Medical Payments coverage, PIP would cover 80% of medical bills up to $10,000, and then the Medical Payment coverage would pay the remaining costs, up to $5,000. 

Suppose that this driver incurred $25,000 in medical losses—the first $15,000 would be paid by the policy and the at-fault driver would be liable for the remaining $10,000 of medical bills. If the at-fault driver was carrying the required liability limits of 10/20/10, the at-fault driver’s policy would pay the insured the remaining $10,000. If the at-fault driver was not carrying the required limits, the insured driver is in need of Uninsured Motorist coverage for the remaining $10,000. 

Without UM, one might have to pay the remaining $10,000 of medical bills out of pocket—this is the benefit of Uninsured Motorist coverage. 

Uninsured Motorist coverage exists to pay the insured should their policy limits be exhausted and the at-fault driver be uninsured or under-insured; it serves as a precautionary measure to ensure that the driver is insured and covered should the other party not be.

What are the pros and cons of no fault insurance? 

Overall, No-Fault coverage protects and pays for the insured’s expenses in any accident; after No-Fault coverage is exhausted, the insured can turn to Medical Payments coverage; after Medical Payments coverage is exhausted and if not at fault, the insured can look to the other party’s liability insurance; and finally, should the opposing party’s limits be exhausted or nonexistent, Uninsured Motorist coverage can, within its limits, cover the rest.

PIP also contains a $5,000 death benefit, should the driver die due to injuries sustained in the accident (Note that PIP claims must be made within 14 days of the accident).

However, this law was passed with the intention of lowering the number of tort (civil wrongs, usually caused by negligence) lawsuits in relation to car accidents. So, instead of suing each other, the two parties in the accident now have their own Personal Injury Protection, regardless of fault, with which to pay personal bills incurred by the accident. That means that drivers cannot file suit unless they suffered permanent injuries in the accident.

Let us help you navigate no-fault coverage

Still have questions about no-fault law in Florida? Let our experienced insurance advisors guide you through Personal Insurance Protection coverage. Contact us to speak with an advisor about your auto insurance plan. 

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Does Homeowners Insurance Cover Water Damage?

Flooding near a home in Florida

Does Homeowners Insurance Cover Water Damage?

If you’re asking, “Does homeowners insurance cover water damage?” we sincerely hope that you are not already ankle-deep in H2O. Answering the water damage coverage question is nuanced; whether your homeowners insurance will cover water damage depends on a number of factors. Let’s dive in.

What types of water damage are covered by Homeowners Insurance?

From overflowing dishwashers to water damage after a fire, the following items are typically covered by homeowners insurance.  

Burst Pipes

Burst pipes and accidental overflow are usually covered. Poor maintenance, however, is usually not covered. Scroll down to the next section to learn more. Water damage from a fire

Extinguishing a blaze demands water to douse the flames. The resulting damage will be covered.

Roof Leakage

Sorry to all those who were looking to get a new house-topper! While repairs needed due to leaks from lack of maintenance or wear and tear are not covered, if the wind removes a portion or all of your roof and lets the rain inside, your home insurance responds, unless you opted to exclude wind coverage.Accidental overflow

Should an appliance or fixture malfunction, you are likely in luck regarding recompense. This is one of those classic “thank goodness I purchased insurance” moments when the damage is an absolute surprise. Be aware that some policies limit or exclude water damage. Check your policy for specific terms and conditions.Mold

When left undetected long enough, mold can pose a significant respiratory hazard. If mold is the result of a covered water damage loss, eradication expenses will be paid. Policy limits for water damage and mold coverage will vary depending on your policy form. This is another important reason to review your policy each year and to speak with your personal insurance advisor if you have questions.Vandalism

The creative list of possibilities in this category is endless. Luckily, your homeowners insurance will most likely cover the damages. 

What kinds of Water Damage are Not Covered by Homeowners Insurance?

Now for the not-so-great news: Not all water damage is covered by homeowners insurance. Here are a few items that are not. 

Ground seepage

When rain falls to the ground, it doesn’t travel straight down. It moves underground and sometimes resurfaces in low-lying home areas. Damages from ground seepage are not covered by homeowners insurance. 

Poorly maintained pipes or roofs

You are held to a certain level of care regarding your home. If those pipes are exceedingly old or the repair work on them is shoddy, your coverage is likely not going to help you.

Water or sewer pipe backup

Avoid this scenario by keeping your pipes in good working order.


This comes as a surprise to many, but damage from rising surface water (flooding) will not be covered by homeowners insurance. You can view our article about flood insurance to learn more about how to purchase this very important coverage. 

How long does it take for water to do damage?

Depending on the amount of water, severe damage can begin immediately. It can quickly spread across the floor, saturing carpets, staining tiles, and destroying furniture. Water will spread until it is stopped, usually by a wall, which can cause sudden impact to the structure of your home. If water touches appliances and electrical outlets, there are even greater risks.

If things remain wet, within the first 24 hours you may see soaked wood, swollen or bent drywall, peeling wallpaper, disintegrating documents, and tarnishing metal. If left untreated for a second day, surfaces will warp and metal surfaces will begin to corrode. You will likely see damage within walls and insulation.

How quickly does mold grow after water damage?

If water damage is left untreated, mold growth begins within a few days – though it may not become noticeable for 1 to 2 weeks. Mold (and mildew) spreads rapidly, posing health risks long before you realize it’s there. In addition to damage to carpeting, tiles, walls, and furniture, mold can cause unpleasant smells in the home and lead to respiratory and skin problems for you and your family.

Is Flood Insurance worth it in Florida?

A simple adage sums up why flood insurance is always a necessary protection for Floridians: Everyone in the Sunshine State lives in a flood zone. Even if you don’t have a view of the Gulf, you are still susceptible to nature-led flooding. 

Florida is also the ultimate destination for hurricanes, and these unwelcome storms bring massive flood potential with them. Furthermore, even inland Floridians experience massive rainfalls. These events can happen anywhere and at any time. Lastly, storm surge and tidal waters can easily flood or even level an entire home.  The images of homes with flood water nearly reaching the second floor are hard to forget.  The devastation caused by surging ocean water is a very real threat to Floridians. (insert a Hurricane Ian link).

Not Sure if You’re Covered? Ask Your W3 Advisor.

At W3 Insurance, our advisors know protection. Specifically, our team understands the nuances of flood coverage and can direct you to the policy that is right for you. Before the flood, there’s W3. Contact us for a review of your current policy or to elect new coverage.

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Homeowners Insurance for Hurricane Damage in Florida

Florida home in high wind

Hurricane insurance coverage is as vital to the Florida homeowner as storm shutters that withstand gale-force winds. Those sandbags, batteries, and shutters are must-haves in the emergency preparedness kit, but hurricane insurance coverage alone possesses the power of rebuilding. If the worst happens, and that storm demolishes a home, the right coverage can make all the difference. Here’s what to expect as you consider coverage options:

Does homeowners insurance cover hurricane damage in Florida?

It may surprise you to learn that many homeowners policies consider coverage for hurricanes to be standard. However, as a Floridian, keep in mind that a separate windstorm deductible applies to covered losses. When one speaks of ‘hurricane coverage,’ that is actually what they are referring to – the combination of coverages that add up to full protection. 

This a la carte coverage aspect means that it is important to talk with an insurance professional before choosing coverage. Whatever policy you select, know that the best options cover both the exterior of the home as well as the contents. That takes into account those valuables you hold dear.

What type of hurricane damage is covered by homeowners insurance?

What happens if a tree pushes a divot through your rooftop or the windows shatter (where were those shutters when you needed them)? Your homeowners insurance should cover the damage. Remember, though, that some areas require extra coverage––whether that be through increased contents coverage or a replacement-cost endorsement for your contents. This provides compensation for your damaged or destroyed possessions with the same, or similarly valued, items.

What kind of hurricane damage does homeowners insurance not cover?

Even though hurricanes often bring flooding along for the trip, homeowners insurance does not cover damage from rising surface water. Mold is also not covered by homeowners insurance unless it was added by endorsement and the result of a covered loss. Excess moisture in the air can cause mold, and this is a very real concern when a hurricane hits. 

Does Homeowners Insurance cover flood damage from a hurricane? 

Flood insurance is not covered by Homeowners Insurance. Though it might seem counterintuitive, flood insurance is a completely different type of coverage. Living in Florida, with shrinking shorelines and neighborhoods surrounded by water, it’s essential for your total home protection to elect for flood insurance.

If a hurricane results in flooding, those who elected to purchase flood insurance can rest easy knowing their home and property will be protected.

What is the deductible for hurricane damage in Florida?

All insurance companies are required by Florida law to offer a hurricane deductible option of $500, plus options for 2 percent, 5 percent, or 10 percent of the policy’s dwelling or structure limits. This is not the case if the percentage deductible is less than $500. 

A single season hurricane deductible applies to personal lines and residential property policies. Commercial residential policies, on the other hand, can have separate deductibles for each hurricane incident rather than single season, if they choose.

Every Florida Home Should Have Flood Insurance

We can’t drive this home enough. Did you know that it doesn’t take a major storm for flooding to occur? Homeowners who state that they don’t need flood insurance because they don’t live in a flood zone miss the mark. In Florida, we know that when it rains, it pours. Heavy Florida showers present a very real flood risk.

Protect yourself. Prepare your home against hurricanes and know what your policy covers. Speak with one of our experienced advisors before that storm system appears on the radar. We will break down the intricacies of insurance and make sure you understand what you’re paying for. We’re here to help you weather the storm.

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Wind Mitigation Credits and Your Home

What Are Wind Mitigation Credits in Florida?

Wind Mitigation Credits and Your Home Insurance

The State of Florida requires insurance companies to offer discounts for protecting your home against damage caused by windstorms. These discounts are known as wind mitigation credits. In order to be eligible for them, a certified inspector needs to perform a wind mitigation inspection of your home.


Unlike some home inspections – such as a four-point inspection – this one is not mandated by your insurance company or your lender: it’s completely optional. However, most wind mitigation inspections result in savings that at least cover the cost of the inspection in the first year, so they’re generally worth pursuing.

It’s important to note that you will never be penalized for not having these safety features.

What Does a Wind Mitigation Inspection Include?

An inspector will come to your home and look for specific factors that would make your home more resilient to a windstorm. Specifically, they will be looking at your roof and openings into your home such as doors and windows. Florida wind mitigation inspectors examine these key safety features:

  • Roof shape
  • Roof bracing of gable end
  • Roof deck attachment
  • Roof covering
  • Roof-to-wall connections
  • Secondary water resistance
  • Doors
  • Protection of openings (such as windows and other openings)

These features will be evaluated to determine how wind resilient your home is with its current features. All Florida homes built after 2002 were constructed to certain safety codes that will likely result in a savings to you. If your roof hasn’t been replaced since 2002 but was built after 1974, we still recommend having a wind mitigation inspection. Based on how it was constructed, there are some features of the roof that may still qualify you for discounts.

There are a few cost-effective measures you can take to safeguard your home and reduce your hurricane-wind premium: securing your roof with hurricane clips or wraps, for example, or hurricane protecting all windows, doors and other openings to your home. To qualify for the opening protection credit, all windows and openings must be protected by wind impact resistant glass. This also includes a hurricane-resistant garage door.

How Much Does a Wind Mitigation Inspection Cost?

A wind mitigation report will cost, on average, $75.00-$150.00. However, with minimal wind mitigation features in place, the inspection will pay for itself in the first year. Credits can go up to the maximum savings of 88% off the hurricane/wind premium.

Who Can Perform a Wind Mitigation Inspection?

Only certain Florida-certified construction professionals can perform a wind mitigation inspection. This includes:

  • Home inspectors who have completed a training course approved by the Construction Industry Licensing Board (CILB)
  • Building code inspectors
  • General building or residential contractors
  • Professional engineers
  • Professional architects
  • Any inspector recognized by the insurer as possessing the necessary qualifications

Homeowners cannot perform their own wind mitigation inspections and general roofers can’t either unless they’re also licensed in one of the categories above.

How Long Do Wind Mitigation Credits Last?

The credits continue for the life of the insurance policy in which the inspection report was used to apply credits. However, the inspection report expires after five years, therefore if you change companies after five years of the inspection you will need to obtain a new wind mitigation report to submit to the new insurance carrier. 

Please contact your Personal Insurance Advisor at Wallace, Welch & Willingham to discuss wind mitigation credits and find out if you could benefit from the inspection!

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The Impact of Hurricane Ian on the Boating Industry

The Impact of Hurricane Ian on the Boating Industry

When Hurricane Ian made landfall on Caya Costa Island, Florida on September 28, 2022, it unleashed more than just immediate harm to life and property. Well into 2023, the Florida boating industry is still experiencing lasting changes and challenges brought on by the category 4 storm. “Hurricane Ian insurance” is still a top search phrase on Google, and Florida boat owners and property owners alike are left wondering: How can I properly cover my belongings to protect against damages from such a storm? 

The marine insurance sector was drastically affected by Hurricane Ian. Winds of over 155 miles per hour damaged many insured vessels. So many claims were filed after the storm that many insurance companies opted to leave the Florida market, cease writing new policies and/or impose new terms, which may impact future boat policy renewals. This leaves boat owners with fewer coverage options today than they had a year ago. In addition, underwriting requirements are now stricter than before, and homeowners insurance in the Sunshine State is following a similar trajectory.

On the marine side, some premiums have skyrocketed. Boats damaged by Hurricane Ian, essentially broken crafts, bobbed in the surf for months after the storm fizzled. Salvage crews worked for weeks to meet immense demand. Not long after, a large number of used boats started to appear on the resale market “as is.”

What does this have to do with you, and how do you navigate the post-Hurricane Ian insurance marketplace? By understanding the impact Ian had – and continues to have – on Florida boating and related sectors, you can find coverage options that are still available for most vessels.

The following snapshot of the post-Ian insurance market will reveal why it’s more difficult today to find a comprehensive policy.

Hurricane Ian and the Insurance Market

The aftershocks of Hurricane Ian range from the tangible (wrecked vessels and property wind damage) to the intangible (premium rate hikes and fewer marine insurers in the marketplace). Damage estimates from the storm are on par with those of Hurricane Katrina in their brutality, significance, and overall price tag. 

This affects consumers in myriad ways. Not only is it more difficult now to secure a policy that protects a boat or a home in Florida, but the policies on offer are now significantly more expensive. Florida homeowners insurance, for example, has undergone rate hikes ranging from 6 to 11% or more..

This affects commercial and residential property owners alike who have no choice but to pay the increased costs. After all, you never know when the next hurricane will form over the Atlantic, aimed for the Florida coastline. It’s imperative to elect insurance before a tropical system exists, because once a storm is identified as a threat, insurers historically will not allow the public to purchase insurance for protection. Going even further to protect themselves post-Ian, some insurers now won’t even offer a new policy for protection once a tropical depression is spotted on the radar.

Meanwhile, the coverage that is available should be closely scrutinized. While it’s possible to secure insurance coverage in today’s marketplace for home and marine vehicles in Florida, policies may carry exclusions for wind and named storms. To ensure that you carry the policy that best protects your investment, partner with an insurance advisor who understands the current marketplace and can offer personalized protection.

Hurricane Ian and the boat resale market

Used boat shoppers beware: Hurricane Ian boats with low sticker prices might be lemons – and they also might be uninsurable. Thousands of boats were damaged as Hurricane Ian swept boats from their moorings and devastated even secure-seeming harbors. Many of these crafts received patch jobs and were put up for sale at cheap prices. Before Hurricane Ian, it was sometimes possible to get insurance for repaired boats if they were carefully vetted for seaworthiness. Today, finding coverage is more difficult than ever before. So many damaged crafts have flooded the marketplace that insurers are wary of taking chances on them.

What about insuring property?

As of February 2023, data from the Office of Insurance Regulation indicated that 40% of property claims have either been stalled or rejected. This makes sense: according to reinsurer Swiss Re, Ian is to blame for $112.9 billion in damages. Only Hurricane Katrina has Ian beat when it comes to losses. Now more than ever before, it’s imperative that you work with an experienced insurance advisor to obtain coverage.

Just a single inch of water from flooding can cause costly damage to your home. Here’s what you need to know
about insuring against damages caused by flooding.

Trust a professional who understands the current insurance marketplace and can find you the best coverage for competitive premiums. Today, that’s no easy task. It takes an insurance advisor’s assistance in order to stay up-to-date with sector changes. Secure a solid policy to ensure you have the right coverage.

Has homeowners insurance been specifically affected?

Hurricanes have the ability to peel off roofs, break windows, and bring forth storm surges that destroy even the most sturdy abode. It comes as no surprise that homeowners insurance has been specifically affected by Hurricane Ian. Even homeowners who barely detected a raindrop from Ian can expect to pay much more for homeowners insurance than ever before. 

This truism is because of the massive number of claims filed by homeowners who were affected by the storm. Paying out that many claims is bound to have an effect on future rates, as insurance companies are still scrambling to find the funds to make good on their coverage promises. It doesn’t matter, then, if your area of Florida has never had problems from hurricanes. The state is seen as a high coverage risk, from down in Key West up to Pensacola. And homeowners are going to pay the price.

Specific impacts to the marine insurance sector

There’s good news and there’s bad news. The good news is there’s never been a better time to find a used boat. The bad news is that virtually no insurance company is going to insure a sea craft totaled by Ian, no matter how great the restoration job. Before purchasing a used vessel, though, talk with your marine insurance advisor regarding your coverage options. That way, you won’t be stuck out on the water uninsured.

Deductibles are also steadily increasing, even for new vessels. The bottom line is this: understanding your coverage means avoiding unwanted surprises later. There are fewer companies insuring boats now, and most have changed their policies to reflect the ripple effect Ian continues to have on the insurance marketplace. 

Shop for marine insurance wisely. Enlist an ally from W3 Insurance.

Is it safe to boat after Hurricane Ian?

The answer to that question depends on where you are. Certain areas are no longer safe. The hurricane dredged certain waterways and swept debris into others. Caution is always the best option when it comes to avoiding potentially changed seas. Hidden debris is best seen on a viewfinder, which is a handy tool to have on board.

Pollutants also linger in the waterways as a result of Ian. Florida’s Department of Environmental Protection received many reports about oil-slicked waters and more. Untreated wastewater was a common complaint. Aerial views of damage caused by the hurricane can be seen here

To stay safe, visit the Environmental Protection Agency’s page before heading out on the water. You’ll be able to see updated waterway data and make an educated decision regarding where to navigate next.

Explore the best coverage and rates for your property

Whether you’re seeking homeowners insurance or marine insurance, it’s possible to find the best coverage and rates that meet your unique needs. No amount of scrolling the Internet is going to give you access to the experienced advice you’ll get from the insurance advisors at W3. Contact our team today to take the guesswork out of insurance coverage and get the protection you need. Whether a hurricane hits Florida next year or waits another 100, the W3 team will provide you with coverage that meets your unique needs.

Wallace Welch & Willingham Insurance (W3) Announces Acquisition of White Hoskins Cook Insurance

February 14th, 2023 – Wallace Welch & Willingham Insurance (W3) recently made its 32nd all-time acquisition with the addition of White Hoskins Cook Insurance Agency. The milestone is significant for W3, which is approaching 100 years in business and is now one of Florida’s largest independently owned insurance agencies. More than 130 employees now work under the W3 umbrella.

“We are thrilled to have the staff of White Hoskins Cook Insurance join us,” says W3 President Jon Hammond. “They have a long history of serving their community.”

White Hoskins Cook Insurance Agency has been operating since 1956 and is a natural fit for W3. The addition of talent and resources positions W3 to provide even more comprehensive and competitive insurance marketplace products for its clients.

With this acquisition comes the promotion of Beverly Lindsey to Personal Lines Manager of the White Hoskins Cook branch in Saint Petersburg. Lindsey has more than 18 years of insurance industry experience and is a fully licensed Property and Casualty agent. Her reputation of creating “Raving Fans” and the skill sets she has developed over the years as a Personal Lines Advisor have uniquely qualified her to lead this team.

Founded in 1925, Wallace Welch & Willingham (W3 Insurance) is an independent insurance agency with a rich history of providing quality service and unwavering commitment to its clients and community. The agency represents an extensive list of “A rated” insurance companies in order to provide the best coverage at the most affordable rates available. W3 Insurance has insurance products to fit the specific needs of both businesses and individuals, offering commercial, homeowners, auto, boat and life insurance, as well as employee benefits coverage. For more information, call (727) 522-7777 or visit