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Your next home insurance rate increase is going to be a whopper

Your next home insurance rate increase is going to be a whopper

South Florida homeowners are about to get hit with insurance rate increases unlike any other we’ve ever experienced.

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We’re talking as much as 30% to 40% over what you are paying now and price hikes of $1,000 or more for your next year of coverage.

Insurers have been warning for years that these increases would hit us hard. And now they’re here, thanks to years of rising claims abuses, court-clogging litigation, spiraling costs from hurricanes Irma and Michael, and one of the most active seasons in memory for severe and destructive weather.

When Weston resident Ruth Bettini opened her insurance renewal notice in September, “I almost died of shock,” she said. The annual premium to insure her $550,000 house with Orlando-based St. Johns Insurance Co. had increased by 28% — from $4,647 last year to $5,946 for the term beginning Oct. 1. That’s $108.25 more per month.

She asked her agent to shop for a lower price. “But everything else that was available cost even more than that, so I went ahead and renewed it.”

Bettini says her house is not what any insurer should consider a bad risk. Hurricane-rated accordion shutters cover all of her windows. All of her doors, including her garage door, are impact resistant. And she had her roof replaced a year ago to meet current windstorm codes. “I’ve done all the upgrades I can do to make it hurricane-proof,” she said.

As a real estate agent, Bettini says she worries about effects of the rising prices on her livelihood. “I’m really getting concerned when I see these insurance rates because I think they’re pricing people out of the market.”

Warnings about rising insurance rates might sound familiar. Prices in South Florida have been rising for the last five years, after a brief era

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Analysis: 28 states have seen increase in new coronavirus cases in past two weeks

Analysis: 28 states have seen increase in new coronavirus cases in past two weeks

Twenty-eight states, as well as Washington, D.C., and Puerto Rico, have experienced increases in new COVID-19 cases over the past two weeks, a trend that could be treacherous as the flu season approaches.

ABC conducted an analysis that also revealed increases in new daily positivity rate for 25 states, increases on COVID-19 hospitalization in 35 states, and upticks in daily COVID-19 deaths in 18 states and Puerto Rico.

These data contributed to the rise of the seven-day average of new cases in the U.S. to over 44,000 –– the highest it has been since Aug. 21.


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Some of the current hotspots in the U.S. are the Midwest states, including North and South Dakotas, Wisconsin, Indiana, and Nebraska. ABC notes that two states in particular, Montana and South Dakota, recorded their highest single-day increase in new coronavirus cases this week.

Hospitalizations in the Midwest have also hit record highs.

Other regions in the country, like the Northeast and South, are relatively low, although Northeast states are seeing increases in cases, with seven-day averages of new cases hitting the highest numbers seen since June. 

Meanwhile, the South still contributed over 45 percent of the country’s daily regional caseload, averaging 18,000 new cases a day. 

States out west like Montana, Idaho, and Utah have also witnessed increases, with a 26 percent new-case uptick reported over the past three weeks. 

Montana Gov. Steve Bullock (D) recently announced that the state’s health department will be publicly displaying hospital bed capacity and ICU status on Thursday. 

“It’s our actions as

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5 ways freelancers can increase cash flow while their income is down

5 ways freelancers can increase cash flow while their income is down

Personal Finance Insider writes about products, strategies, and tips to help you make smart decisions with your money. We may receive a small commission from our partners, like American Express, but our reporting and recommendations are always independent and objective.

  • Many freelancers have taken a financial hit since the start of the pandemic, and most government relief has run out.
  • If you need to increase your cash flow to save or pay bills, financial planner Ben Henry-Moreland recommends looking first at your spending to see where you can cut back.
  • Then, look into any government programs that are still available, such as the EIDL, and consider reducing your health insurance costs if you’re able.
  • You can also reach out to your network to get more work, and reduce your quarterly tax payments to the IRS if your income has gone down.
  • Get Personal Finance Insider’s free guide to financial planners »

If you’re a freelancer like I am, you know just how hard it can be to manage your money. For one thing, budgeting on an inconsistent income is like taming a beast in the wild. And  trying to save? That can feel like a lofty aspiration to spot Big Foot. Take into account the financial curveball that the pandemic has thrown at us, and it makes saving that much more challenging.

Now that some of the government-funded programs made available to self-employed folks because of COVID-19, namely the Paycheck Protection Program and expanded unemployment benefits, have lapsed, freelancers might feel even more squeezed financially. So how can you save — or even just meet your basic financial needs — despite all these hurdles?

Ben Henry-Moreland, a financial planner and founder of Freelance Financial Planning, has some advice.

Focus on your spending 

The only way to manage inconsistent income is

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D.C. residents to see small increase in health insurance marketplace rates

D.C. residents to see small increase in health insurance marketplace rates

Rates for individual coverage will increase overall by 0.2 percent and rates for small-group coverage, such as small businesses, will decrease by 0.5 percent, according to the D.C. Department of Insurance, Securities and Banking, which reviews and approves rates for the online marketplace.

The 2021 rates are a “big win for D.C. residents in making health care more affordable and accessible,” said William Borden, a professor of medicine and health policy at George Washington University. He pointed to how people struggled to keep up with rising health insurance premiums even before the novel coronavirus took hold.

“Having health insurance is clearly associated with better health outcomes, and so if there was going to be a sharp increase in insurance premiums that really could be devastating, especially as individuals, small businesses are already struggling financially,” Borden said.

Insurers initially asked for rate increases as high as 30 percent, but most of the insurers decreased their initial rate filings after a virtual public hearing in September.

During that hearing, leaders of the D.C. Health Benefit Exchange Authority, which operates D.C. Health Link, the online health insurance marketplace, advocated premium reductions or freezing rates at 2020 levels. More than 30 people signed up to testify.

The gap between what insurers initially proposed and what the DISB approved after the hearing will save D.C. residents more than $17 million, according to the department’s news release Friday.

Open enrollment in the District runs from Nov. 1 through Jan. 31.

Other jurisdictions also have moved to limit increasing rates.

Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan (R) approved an average 11.9 percent premium rate decrease for individual health insurance plans through Maryland Health Connection, the state-based health insurance marketplace, in 2021. This is the third consecutive year that individual premium rates have gone down in Maryland. Open enrollment in

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