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Private high-rise condo unit flood insurance provides low-cost alternative to Federal program

Insurer rolls out new condo flood insurance offering in Florida, two other states

Southern Insurance Underwriters, Inc. (SIU), has introduced a low-cost high-rise condo unit flood insurance program that provides an alternative to FEMA’s National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP). The genesis of the program, which SIU currently makes available through independent agents in Alabama, Florida and South Carolina, hinges on the fact that NFIP flood insurance does not differentiate higher floors from lower ones that are actually more likely to flood.

“We saw that consumers with coastal high-rise condo units above the third floor needed a more cost-effective flood insurance alternative,” says Hugh T. Nelson, Senior Vice President of SIU. “In fact, Federal flood insurance (NFIP) reforms seen since Hurricane Andrew and Superstorm Sandy encourage private flood insurance alternatives.”

SIU’s high-rise condo unit flood program is insured by Lloyd’s of London (SIU is a coverholder at Lloyd’s) and is available – subject to underwriting requirements – for condo units located above the third floor in Flood Zones A & V, and for both owner-occupied and seasonal/rental units.

Nelson says these flood policies for individual condo units typically cost 20-35 percent less than NFIP coverage and can serve as primary flood insurance or as excess coverage over an in-place NFIP policy. Coverage essentially matches NFIP provisions, and there is no waiting period. While currently only offered in Alabama, Florida and South Carolina, SIU may in the future expand availability of this program to other states.

“Until now, the owners of condo units on higher floors paid the same rates as the owners of condo units on lower floors that are at greater risk,” Nelson says. “This product provides an alternative and may offer significant cost savings.”

It’s important to know that high-rise condos in flood-prone coastal areas that have a mortgage that is federally regulated or secured are required to have flood insurance. SIU’s new program also may encourage coastal high-rise condo unit owners who do not hold a mortgage to insure their property with this more affordable alternative.
Nelson notes that many insureds in these markets may be on “auto-pilot” in terms of renewing their flood insurance, and says the company hopes this private insurance alternative might encourage consumers to look at their coverage anew.

The high-rise condo unit flood product is marketed through SIU’s network of independent insurance agents.  Consumers interested in the product may contact SIU directly for referral to an appointed agent in their area: 678-498-4612.

Southern Insurance Underwriters ( www.SIUINS.com), based in Alpharetta, Georgia, is a Managing General Agency serving independent agents throughout the southeast. SIU provides access to over 120 markets, spanning: Commercial Property & Casualty, Commercial Transportation, Personal Property, Professional Lines and Standard Lines. “With a staff of experienced and reliable underwriters, we can quickly respond to almost any risk ranging from simple to highly complex hazards,” Nelson says, adding, “we understand the importance of competitive markets, innovative technology and personalized service.” This year SIU celebrates its 50th anniversary.

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