This Is our Village

Thursday, December 30, 2010

Is this true?

This morning (Friday, Dec. 30, our scheduled day) when I went to the Clubhouse to make an appointment for the box for my second TV to be installed, I was told that it had to be installed next Monday, Jan. 3, Comcast's next business day, or I would have to pay for the installation. When I protested because of commitments on Monday, a supervisor came over and said I could get around this rule only by coming in another day to register, when I was going to be free the following business day for the tech to come out. So I left and plan to go in next Wednesday, because Thursday is open on my calendar. Is this true what I was told, and should I have been forced to make two trips to register as I was?

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Boar's Head and Yule Log Festival

There is an elaborate pageant at the church of Bethesda-by-the-Sea in Palm Beach. Click here to get a "taste" of Boar's Head and Yule Log Festival. The 2011 presentation will be held Sunday, January 9, at 2:30 p.m. and then again at 4:30 p.m.
The ceremony is always held on the Sunday closest to The Epiphany, the twelfth day of Christmas, which is the date the Three Kings are said to have arrived in Bethlehem. Seating is available on a first-come, first-served basis. For more information, please call the church office at 561-655-4554. and only in Palm Beach!
Posted by Picasa

Monday, December 27, 2010

Facts for Important Decisions

Good Afternoon,

In the past couple of weeks, it has become painfully apparent that there is a great deal of misinformation provided to Associations by parties with questionable intentions. We are well aware that all Associations and Board Members are concerned about making the right decision for their Unit Owners. It is very important that these decision are based solely on facts and not on assumptions, or distortions.

Below are a few items that have been brought to our attention, so we feel it is important to examine them one at a time:

1. In the past few weeks, there have been several adjustments made on the quotes presented by one of the other Agents. The premiums that were hand-written on the sheets they distributed were observed to be lowered from the renewal Proposal supplied to UCO during the well supervised bidding process. Then once again, they seem to have been adjusted from what was secondarily represented in curiously round premium amounts. These quote sheets also lacked coverage description as to the Name of the Insurance Company, the applicable coverage limit, and applicable deductibles.

Associations should verify with the Agent if all applicable Taxes and Surcharges are included in these quotes as it is not customary to see round number premium figures on quotes. A premium indication of $740 for General Liability coverage should raise a flag that surcharges and taxes which are calculated as percentages applied to premium may be missing from the indication.

Secondly, we have inquired with specific Insurance Companies from which Associations were led to believe they were receiving these quotes. It was interesting to learn that several specific examples we shared with them did not match the Insurer's records as the quote that was released to the specific Agent. It is imperative that all Associations retain a copy of the indication provided to them by an Agent along with the names of the Insurance Company and coverage limits. Once coverage is bound, it will be crucial to verify the actual premium and coverage against what is mentioned on these sheets.

2. Many of the Association we spoke with were unaware that the premiums for their policies had been Financed through a Premium Finance Company and was applied a finance charge to be able to utilize an installment pay plan. A copy of the current finance contract as was procured by the incumbent Agent, at an interest rate more than double of what's being offered this year, is available in the UCO office for review. It is also important to point out the negative impact this high interest rate had last year considering the significantly higher premiums that were financed. We have been able to deliver much more competitive financing terms for substantially lower premiums for the coming renewal which your incumbent Agent has offered to match. This is yet another item that raises the question, where was this improvement last year when there was no competition?

3. Law and Ordinance coverage is an important policy which the Century Village West Palm Beach Associations benefit from. This policy in basic terms provides additional funds in the event of property damage to cover for the elevated replacement costs which may be imposed as part of Construction Code Compliance to specifically address increased cost of construction, demolition to undamaged portion of the building, debris removal, etc. There is already a policy in force for the Associations which will expire on May 31, 2011. The premiums for this policy are still collected on a monthly basis. Even though a much less expensive option with the same coverage terms is available at this moment from our Agency, it would duplicate the cost of this coverage for the associations if this policy was issued prior to May 31, 2011. If the existing high priced policy was to be cancelled prior to the expiration date, the return premium would be penalized for short term cancellation. Replacing this policy at the said expiration date will be more economical for the Associations.

4. It has also been brought to our attention that the Associations are being advised against purchasing a lower wind deductible option this year by the SAME parties which NEGOTIATED and PURCHASED a set of very high priced policies for this very same purpose. It is important to note that last year, about $2,000,000 (TWO MILLION Dollars) of premium was charged to the Associations for this very same coverage alone. Brown & Brown is able to deliver wind buy down coverage for the Associations at HALF of the premium that was charged last year. Also, under our program this coverage is optional. So, each Association can decide whether or how much of this coverage they would like to purchase. This was not the case last year.

5. We have noted that the coverage limits shared on these hand-written quotes being circulated make no mention of the shared elements for specific Associations that commonly own a pool, pool cabana, etc. It's very important to ask the people providing these quotes, where these items will be covered, how much this coverage will cost, and how will this cost be distributed to these Associations. This raises questions for Associations such as the Golf's Edge, Greenbrier, Oxford, Plymouth, Wellington and their common elements. Our quotes included an equitable distribution of these common elements, among those specific Associations. It is something that should be provided from other Agents as well for comparison purposes.

There is a long list of items that must be reviewed in terms of: Insurance Company, Coverage Limit, Exclusions, Deductibles, and Price when considering which insurance program is the best for each Association. Unfortunately, it seems that the discussion and review is being guided towards a simple comparison of premiums alone. And of course, the premiums provided by the same Agent year over year are substantially improved in the light of competition from other Agents.

Let's examine how the insurance proposal from the Incumbent Agent drastically changed from just last year, where the Associations were charged Millions of Dollars more. In addition to the new Insurance Companies brought to the table, the coverage terms, the premiums, finance rates, and even the way the insurance coverage is offered to individual Associations changed dramatically from the prior years. These big changes all come at the same time when our Agency was elected following a very thorough interview, coverage discussion, and premium negotiation process. Sometimes an answer is as clear as it really seems. As all the facts are considered, we welcome any questions; including those from Associations that may have been leaning a different direction in light of the limited facts they may have been presented. We will have representatives in the UCO office from 9AM to 1PM daily until Thursday to address any questions or concerns in person.

Sincere Regards,

Executive Vice President
Brown & Brown of FL, Inc.


Hi all,
I am advised that our erstwhile insurance agent Mr. Knudsen was presenting his wares to Dover Association in the Clubhouse this morning; his appearance was not arranged according to guest policy at the Clubhouse, but that is another matter.

Despite the fact that the Plastridge Agency lost the apples to apples bid/quote competition, their agent Mr. Knudsen seems not to care one whit and continues to divide our community against itself.

Your current UCO Administration has followed the high road, we bid out the policies in accord with The Bilateral Agreement, we obtained specific quotes for each Association and by the way we have reduced the cost by 40% or close to $2.5 million dollars.

Those who lost the competition should answer the following burning question; Where were you with the quotes you are now offering over the last ten (10) years???

Think before you jump, and be careful what you ask for, you just may get it.

Dave Israel

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Number of associations in Century Village

Hi everybody,
I am curious to know how many registered associations in Century Village? My hubby and I were discussing and we were not on the same wavelength...would appreciate an answer in order to bring back order in our household LOL.....Hélène


Hi all,
The Plymouth laundry is temporarily closed. The water heater has failed and is leaking.

We anticipate that this will be fixed shortly.

Dave Israel
United Civic Organization


Hi All,
As many of you undoubtedly know, your Association Documents (hereinafter AD) may be found at the Palm Beach County Official Records Search Web Site.


All of your AD, since inception of your building, from the Original Declaration of Condominium through all of your Amendments thereto may be found and read.
Due to the age of our buildings, between 35 and 40 years, all of these documents have been Microfiched and the quality of the document image is quite poor.

Anyone who has had occasion to research the documents, know that reading through these poor images to find a particular reference is less than convenient.

Your blogmeister has developed a multi-step process which converts the documents to Searchable Adobe (hereinafter SA)  format, which simply means the documents may be searched by computer very quickly for keywords and phrases.

This process is referred to as Optical Character Recognition (hereinafter OCR).

It is my intent to convert all AD to searchable format and launch them into the Cloud for easy access by any unit owner. We have started the process for demonstration purposes, with Andover, and preliminary results may be seen in sidebar. Have a look and see what you think.

OCR is not a perfect process and the quality of the end result is directly proportional to the quality of the original input; in computerese, GIGO; Garbage In Garbage Out.
Let's look at an example using Andover A original Declaration of Condominium:

In this example, I will search for the word "pets":
After running the scan, what the program (Adobe Acrobat 9 Professional) "sees"
Is the following:

The owner of a unit shall occupy and use his apartment unit as a single family private dwelling, for himself and the adult members of his family, and his social guests, and for no other purpose. No childr!!n under fifteen (15) years of age shall be permitted to reside in any of the

units or rooms thereof in this Condominium, except that children may be permitted to visit and temporarily reside for reasonable periods, not in excess of 30 days, in any calendar year. .
Th,~ unit owner shall not permit or suffer anything to be done or kept in his unit which will increase the rate of insurance on the Condominium

prOpl"fty, or which will obstruct or interfere with the rights of other unit owners, or annoy them by unreasonable noises, or otherwise, nor shall the

..• i, uWllers commit or permit any nuisance, imm'1ral or illegal acts in or about the Condominium property.

No unim"h or pets of any kind shall be kept in any unit, or on any property of the Condominium, except with the written consent of and

subject to til!! Rules and Regulations adopted by the Management Firm for the keeping of said pets , as long as the Management Agreement

remaim in effect, and. thereafter, by the Board of Directors; provided that they are not kept, bred or maintained for any commercial purposes,
and further provided that such house pets causing or creating a nuisance or unreasonable distrubance, shall be pennanently removed from the
property !>ubject to these restrictions, upon thr~e (3) days written notice from the Management Firm or the Board of Directors of the Association.
As you can see, the program has detected the word "pets" 3 times in the 44 page document and it did so in milliseconds. But note the garbles in the extracted text; this is a result of the poor quality of the input Microfiched image.
Clearly however this extract could be pasted into a Word Document and spell checked and edited to read as the original. The original image has not been changed.
This should greatly enhance a researchers ability to find key items in the documents. I would greatly appreciate your comments on this capablity, and UCO could use a computer literate volunteer to help make this project a reality.
Dave Israel

Saturday, December 25, 2010

One More for the Road

If you're a New Yorker, this holiday song is for you!

Question re new cable scramblers about to be rolled out

I have two question for Dave or the Cable Chair. I’m very confused as far as these new scrambler boxes go in January.

1. I have two old television sets and they both have a Comcast digital box right now. Will I need the additional scramblers for these old TV’s if I already have boxes on them?


2. I have a new HD television. I have a Comcast box on that new TV. Will I need this new scrambler for my new HD television in addition to the Comcast box.


This has probably been asked several times and I apologize in advance for the repeat question.

Thank you so much to Dave and all the hard workers of UCO and a happy, healthy New Year to all!

Bold text by your BLOGMEISTER.

Friday, December 24, 2010


Hi all,
The video of our Insurance meeting of December 23, 2010 is now live in Cyberspace: Click the following URL:

Or see the Side bar:


See our new Insurance Agent of Record Ty Beba present our new Insurance program which features flexibility in coverage and choices ( An Association may choose or reject Equipment Breakdown and also Worker's Compensation. Also there are very significant choices as regards Wind Buy down coverage) which can mean as much as 40% reduction in premium over last year.

Thanks to the UCO Insurance Committee for the extraordinary effort in crafting this new program.

And don't forget to get your Association Quote Sheet by Email, to request it, send me an Email at:

Thanks to the Channel 63 team for the video.

Dave Israel
United Civic Organization

Thursday, December 23, 2010


Hi All,
We have the Association Quote Sheets from Brown & Brown in Computer format.
Anyone interested in receiving their Association Premium Quote Sheet for 2011 by Email, please forward your Email address to me at either of the following Email addresses:


Be sure to tell me who you are and in which Association you reside.

Dave Israel


Someone is circulating a rumor, that the Brown & Brown Quote sheet does not include a quote for Law & Ordinance coverage, just so their total premium would appear lower; this is not true, now let’s see why:

there is currently a Law & Ordinance policy in place for the CV West Palm Beach Associations set to expire on 5/31/2011. The annual cost for that current policy provided through Plastridge including taxes and fees is $620,854. A copy of this policy is available in the UCO office for your review.

Brown & Brown did propose a replacement policy for the Law & Ordinance coverage during the extensive qualification, research, and bidding process organized and supervised by UCO. Their proposal for the exact same coverage was $425,637.24 including taxes and fees based on the values for all of the associations.

That would have been an annual savings of approximately $195,217 just on that policy alone. That would translate to an annual premium rate of 7.6 cents for each $100 worth of building value. For a Building valued at $1,616,734 as part of the shared program; the Annual Premium for the Ordinance or Law would be approximately $1,229. The exact figure may be just slightly different based on the rates available in May 31 of next year. They do not anticipate much, if any change with the rates between now and then.

Why don’t we implement this new quote now? Because the high priced Plastridge policy premium has been fully earned and thus if we canceled it at this time we would get very little back from the already paid premium. Rest assured we will implement the new rate in June 2011 with Brown & Brown!!

Dave Israel
United Civic Organization

Am I Drunk

Am I drunk, click on
You need to remember how many drinks you’ve had, how long you’ve been drinking, how much you weigh and what your gender is (note: if you can’t remember any of these points you are too drunk to drive. Sleep on the floor or call a cab).


                                              OPTING OUT

The Brown & Brown Insurance program quotes have been released, and those Association Boards who do not have them should come to UCO AS SOON AS POSSIBLE to obtain your specific information.
Those Associations who wish to Opt Out of the Brown & Brown program must so advise UCO in writing, signed by two Board members and sealed with the Association seal by close of business, Wednesday, 29 December 2010 - 1:00 PM.
All Associations who have not specifically Opted Out by this date will be covered under the Brown & Brown program, under Option three (3) , (full wind Buy Down, 3% to 1%).

Dave Israel
United Civic Organization

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Happy Holidays

Thank you for the insurance rates gift from UCO.
Here is your card, an oldie but a goodie. (yes the same as last year, none better)


Hi all,
If you were not present at the Insurance meeting this morning in the Clubhouse please have a Board Member come to UCO this afternoon to pick up a quote sheet for your Association.

UCO will remain open until 3:00pm for this purpose only!

Dave Israel

Tuesday, December 21, 2010


Thank you Comcast for allowing me to watch my UCONN Women Basketball team set a world record tonight
with a win against Florida State making UCONN winning record 89 wins O losses.

Monday, December 20, 2010


Hi all,
UCO has received "information" that certain Insurance Agent(s) who were not selected by our interview, RFP and Bid process, will attempt to attend the special Insurance meeting in the Clubhouse theater on December 22, 2010, at 9:30am.

The purpose of their attendance, is not known, but we must assume that one purpose may be to disrupt our unit owners meeting.

Therefore, this meeting is herewith announced as "for unit owners only" and Century Village ID cards will be required to attend.

The only official guests will be our Insurance Agent of Record, Brown & Brown.

Dave Israel
United Civic Organization

Sunday, December 19, 2010


Word of the day “n-gram

What follows, while not ready for Prime Time, is nothing less than incredible; work with it and be amazed.
"An n-gram is a subsequence of n items from a given sequence. The items in question can be phonemes, syllables, letters, words or base pairs according to the application."

For those with a math background do some research on this term and its Markovian statistical roots.

Google Dec. 16 launched "Google Books Ngram Viewer", an experiment to let lay users and researchers search and study the waxing and waning of phrase instances over the last 500 years

As Google is trying to gain traction selling books, a free software tool that helps scholars analyze what words and phrases were popular several centuries ago is wowing researchers and media.

Google Dec. 16 launched Google Books Ngram Viewer, a data visualization tool that crawls 500 billion words culled from 5.2 million books published between 1500 and 2008 that Google has indexed in its cloud computing system.

Plug in your own words and phrases; I have been working with this for two days, simply awsome!!!

Dave Israel

Chuck and Take Cover - The Sequel!

I’m extremely disappointed not to have received a telephone call from recently UCO dismissed Insurance Agents, Plasteridge, or more importantly Charles Knudson (known to his friends as Chuck).
Many association presidents, I am reliably informed, have already received a call from Mr. Knudson who, despite his dismissal, is busy soliciting business with promises of vastly reduced building insurance premiums.
Am I alone in thinking that if he’d been doing this for the past ten years he wouldn’t have been dismissed in the first place, and isn’t it a little on the arrogant side to solicit associations when UCO has finally and clearly shown Charles Knudson the door?
The last time I spoke with Charles Knudson, he was distinctly uncomfortable and apparently unable to answer my questions, so I must presume that I’m off his list of prospective clients.
I am in no doubt that he and former Insurance Chairman, Dan Gladstone, are well aware that since that initial meeting, I, like many other have taken a very close look at the books. 
Personally, I have been fortunate to have the assistance and expertise of insurance agent Alex Hartman, who was instrumental in showing the original discrepancies to UCO and has helped me a great deal in understanding what to look for.
However, since I doubt I will have the opportunity to speak with Charles Knudsen directly, should he or his minions call any of you bloggers, perhaps you could ask the following:
After years of literally begging, to no avail, for our policies, when we finally got them, who, what, where and why were figures deleted from ALL our insurance documents? 
Why did this insurance agency hold its clients in such contempt as to deny them an actual bill for their services? To this day, Plasteridge informed our maintenance companies what we owe, without explanation or detail.
Why were some of our policies expensively duplicated?
And finally, why were we forced to subsidize other buildings? Not all buildings were effected by The 1st Priority Restoration scandal but all residents paid the true cost. We were dropped by an insurance company because of the large amounts of claims. Plastridge knew, said nothing, and no doubt collected the commission from the extra premiums we ultimately all were forced to pay.
Many people have put a great deal of time and effort into finally formulating our biggest single association expense – insurance, into a fair and affordable item, so on second thought, maybe the only question all of us should ask if Charles Knudsen calls is:
“When are you leaving?” 


During my recent browse of the blog, I noticed a question and comment from Mr. Lanny Howe regarding differentiation between Agents when purchasing insurance coverage from an Agency. I thought it might be helpful if I provided some insight in regards to your potential response.

It is well known that the cost of goods and services purchased vary based on a number of factors in most all business transactions. Insurance is just such a business transaction where the cost of the policies can vary based on several factors other than underwriting information. Meaning, all underwriting information being equal, it is possible for two Agents to be able to negotiate a different price for the same coverage from the same insurer. Having said that, it should be noted that most insures will not amend coverage terms or premiums once a quote ha been released to any of their Agents. Most insurers release only one quote to one Agent for one specific coverage period as to avoid any difference in terms offered between multiple quotes. This is done to ensure some level of objectivity in a process that otherwise includes several subjective factors.
Here are some of those variables:

1- Distribution Factors: Some Insurance Agencies represent a higher business volume for certain Insurance Companies than other Agents. As in other goods and services, the volume of business that is transacted between the supplier (in this case the Insurance Company), and the distributor (which would be the Insurance Agent) can create a difference in policy terms. As we know, the cost of the same brand and model of automobile is not the same for each distributor. Those distributors that represent a larger market share enjoy more favorable acquisition costs. The same is true for Insurance Agents. The occasions where business volume does not impact the Agent's ability to provide better coverage terms are for policies secured through the State, or Federal government (i.e. Citizens, National Flood Insurance Plan, and Worker's Compensation policies).

Also, the Insurance Agent's reputation, profitability for the Insurer (loss ratio compared with total premiums placed with the Insurer), capacity as well as expertise to provide loss prevention and mitigation services are additional reasons for premium difference between Insurance Agents. If an underwriter can become comfortable offering a more competitive quote to an Agent knowing that their decision is still going to be profitable for their company, they will provide better terms to one Agent as opposed to another.

The rates for Admitted Insurers are filed with the State. Of course, along with those rates, each insurer has separately filed for debits and credits available for the discretionary use of the underwriter which are to be utilized as their competitive advantage when they want a specific client to buy their policy. Ability to solicit and secure such credits vary significantly between Agents.

It is important to remember that Non-Admitted Insurers (Excess & Surplus Markets) do not have to file rates or coverage forms with the State. The rates negotiated with these insurers also vary significantly based on the ability of the negotiating party.

2- Competitive Factors: The specific Agent's ability to secure multiple quotes for the same coverage from different Insurers is another way to reduce the cost of premiums for the policy holder. Every Insurance Agency represents a unique number and type of Insurance Companies. The more Insurance Company access an Agent has, the more likely they are able to generate competition between insurers and therefore drive the premium cost down. Usually, the larger an Insurance Agency becomes, the more access they have to additional Insurance Companies. In some cases, these larger Agencies may even have access to out of State insurers which may not be available to Agents with only local offices.

For instance, if an Agent is able to secure an alternative quote for "Coverage X" from "Willing Insurance Company" to be used as a competitive tool against the quote procured for the same coverage by "Able Insurance Company", that Agent would be able to drive the cost of premium down between the two Insurers for the benefit of their client. The other Agent on the other hand who does not have access to "Willing Insurance Company" would lack this competitive quote to be used in their negotiation with "Able Insurance".

3- Agent's Credentials: Let's consider the example of a lawsuit, either criminal or civil. All attorneys are bound to operate within the same legal system, with the same applicable laws, and the same precedents set by prior court cases. Considering this limited area of differentiation, it would be logical not to expect a big variation between the abilities of different Attorneys. However, experience tells us that the Attorney who has a better understanding of the law; one that has access to a better legal library, more research staff, a counsel who enjoys a better relationship with the magistrate, and one has accumulated more experience in a specific area of law is most often able to deliver a better outcome for their client than the Attorney who lacks these advantages. The same is true for most professional services including Insurance Agents.

Buyer beware of the Agent that states the only differentiating factor between Agencies Is the amount of commission they are able to survive on. If that were true, the Agents and Agencies willing to work on the lowest commission rates would be the most successful ones.

Please let me know if I can be of additional assistance. Have a great evening.


Executive Vice President

Brown & Brown of FL, Inc.

Saturday, December 18, 2010


Photo by Bruno, Northampton H - Gator is estimated to be 10 feet long and lives here in CV.
Did he show an ID to get in?
Dave Israel


I have one more insurance question in two parts.

Part One: I have now been told by two insurance agents, one an agent selling insurance to cover our buildings and the other my homeowner's insurance agent, that insurance rates from the SAME COMPANY are the SAME no matter who the agent, provided the particulars are the same. (By the particulars, they mean the “plug-in” factors such as dollar amount and details of coverage, amount of deductibles, and of course it being the same association or apartment, with all their respective particulars.)

Is this right? Both these agents said that the only way a rate quoted for a given association's buildings or (in the case of homeowner's, a given apartment) using the same insurance COMPANY could be less would be if the PARTICULARS were changed—for example, if Agent A left out a feature of the coverage or Agent B upped the deductible.

Part Two: Insurance agents get a commission from the companies they sell for, I’m sure. I imagine this can differ depending on factors. Imaginary case: Can an agent, who’s making, say, a 10% commission, dip into his commission to give a customer a lower premium on his insurance? Could he, for example, use 3% of his commission to reduce his charge to the customer? Or is that a no-no?
Your BLOGMEISTER responds; but this time with data suppled by our Insurance Committee Chair.

Answer to #1-An admitted company files rates for a certain type of insurance--example: Allstate Homeowners in West Palm Beach--rates are for territory (West Palm Beach), type of building occupancy(residential, business, etc) and construction (fire resistive, joisted masonry), limits (how much insurance you need-building value, contents limit, etc), and loss history (any paid losses, etc). So you can have variances in premium with the same company and still be correct. Insurance is not one size fits all.

Answer to #2-An agent can choose to reduce his/her commission as they see fit. Depending on how much they are planning on servicing the account, this is either a good idea or a poor one. Let's consider UCO and the Associations for example. UCO is an easy account to service. Premium is paid as requested, hardly any losses, not much of an activity producer. The Association policies are a whole different story. Multiple locations, multiple billing activity (monthly through management companies or by Associations), constant loss activity (that requires follow-up to make sure the claims are getting processed properly), and constant questions and services that our residents require from their agent and the UCO Insurance committee. This work is all labor intensive and requires that an agency have the manpower to accomplish it. Reduce your income too much and you will not be able to service an account as you should.
Thanks for the question Lanny and thanks Toni for the well considered reply!
Dave Israel


Hi all,

Your UCO Technology Team and BLOG Administrators have uploaded seven (7) new interactive forms which may be found in the sidebar of this BLOG.

They are:








These forms, which may be filled in online, represent UCO's comittment to improving the lives of our unit owners. Any suggestions for additional forms or services gladly accepted.

Please put your ideas in the comment stream.

Remember, to obtain "live" form you must click "download" or "print"
UCO - The culture of yes!

Dave Israel

Friday, December 17, 2010


Hi all,
As Agent of Record, Brown & Brown will access the best markets and obtain the lowest available quotes for our Associations. Brown & Brown will provide a custom product for those Associations who wish to opt out of certain discretionary coverages. Browse their Site, get the facts and do not miss the meeting in the Clubhouse, December 22, 2010 in the theater, at 9:30am.

Dave Israel

Attached please find a copy of Brown & Brown's 2009 annual report. Brown & Brown, Inc is publicly traded on the New York Stock Exchange; (BRO) and our website address is:

 Feel free to browse through the website and the annual report, both will give you a good understanding of the level of professionalism our organization prides itself on. We are also attaching several lists from trade magazines reflecting Brown & Brown's ranking as the largest broker in Florida, the 7th largest nationally and 7th largest globally.

Also attached is the web page from the Florida Department of Financial Services on American Coastal Insurance company: 
As you'll see, they have been authorized to do business in the state of Florida since June of 2007. Coverage through American Coastal has been available for more than a year. This is further proof that substantial savings for the West Palm Beach associations has been available for multiple years. (And this market was not presented to us by Plastridge in prior years)

The insurance program that Brown & Brown has procured will provide the Century Village associations with substantial savings over last year's insurance program. During the extensive and exhaustive interview and bidding process performed by UCO and the insurance committee for Century Village, our proposal was unanimously found to be better than that provided by Plastridge for the upcoming renewal.

We hope that all Century Village associations will weigh all facts and options available for their unit owners in an effort to make a prudent and educated decision. We will have premium breakdowns for each association by line of coverage available during Wednesday's meeting. Thank you.
Debbie Dickson, CIC
Commercial Lines Manager
Brown & Brown of Florida, Inc. - West Palm Beach
Direct Line (561) 688-5054
Toll Free (800) 433-0104
Fax (561) 686-2313


If an association board agrees to proceed with the Checklist idea, and an owner is unwilling to have someone come in and do this (even if supervised by a board member), can the association legally force the owner to comply? Would it require that the association have this added to the bylaws first? Let’s suppose such an amendment to the bylaws were passed by a majority vote, and two or three owners still refused to let someone in to start the Checklist procedure—what then?

I’m not asking a hypothetical question. I have already, in a letter to our owners, broached the subject of implementing the Checklist procedure and had one owner tell me he doesn’t want anyone snooping around his apartment. Fortunately, his apartment has been upgraded re the plumbing and electric, I am quite sure, but (1) we would not have 100% compliance without his participation, and (2) I expect two or three others will also object.

Does it really make sense to pursue this legally and try to force the issue for the benefits we might gain? It seems to me this could open quite a can of worms, not to mention alienate owners, if it is compulsory, not voluntary. Harmony within an association is a pretty important commodity, I think—not at any price, but is it worth sacrificing over this issue?
Your BLOGMEISTER replies:

The law, FS 718, is specific:

Section 718.111(5) RIGHT OF ACCESS TO UNITS.—The association has the irrevocable right of access to each unit during reasonable hours, when necessary for the maintenance, repair, or replacement of any common elements or of any portion of a unit to be maintained by the association pursuant to the declaration or as necessary to prevent damage to the common elements or to a unit or units.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Angie's List

What is Angie's List? It's not Craig's List! Click on the title to learn more about the site, founded by Angie Hicks. It provides information about professionals, including plumbers, roofers and doctors. It's not free; you have to join Angie's List (you can get price information before surrendering your credit card info), and if you come across a contractor you really like, you can add him to the list. The site has gravitas from advertising on CNN.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Ken Graff, photographer for the UCO Reporter
whose beautiful photos have shown up on the CVBlog and elsewhere, has put together a gorgeous full-color calendar for 2011 with photos of the Village for every month of the year. On the back page of the calendar are frequently used telephone numbers. There is no advertising on them except for the fact that Century Village looks like a very attractive place! The cost is $7.00each. They are obtainable at the UCO Reporter office (at the Camden Pool) during our normal working hours, from Monday through Friday between 9:00-noon; closed on holidays. For further information, call Ken Graff at 623-9546 or the UCO Reporter during office hours: 683-9336

Wikipedia Leak?

Click Here

From Wikipedia — no, not that other site: A list of ABC Movies of the Week filmed since the 60s. Some claimed to be public domain can be seen on the site Internet Archive.

GOP makes a cash grab

GOP makes a cash grab
President Obama should be commended for fighting to include additional tax cuts for working Americans during negotiations with congressional Republicans over the approaching expiration of the Bush tax cuts. Giving struggling American families extra spending money will provide our economy with a desperately needed boost.
Yet, one method by which the compromise tax bill provides American workers with $120 billion in tax relief reveals an ulterior motive on the part of Republican negotiators. Instead of spending that money on either a direct, one-time refund to the middle class or a refundable tax credit twice the size of the expiring Making Work Pay initiative, the plan enacts a temporary 2-percent reduction in employee contributions to Social Security.
If we picture ourselves one year from now, it is easy to see why Republicans are enthusiastic about a payroll tax cut from 6.2 percent to 4.2 percent. The debate over the expiration of the Bush tax cuts has illustrated that taxes are easy to cut but hard to restore. So, one year of reduced employee contributions to Social Security could easily become two years, and some will surely argue they should even be made permanent.
The payroll tax has served as Social Security's independent revenue stream, preventing it from contributing to the budget deficit. To make up for lost revenue, this plan requires Social Security to be replenished with general funding, or in other words, deficit spending. The payroll tax has also protected the hard-earned retirement benefits of American workers from the red pen of those determined to dismantle this vital program. Under this plan, a large part of Social Security revenues could ultimately be subject to the discretion of Republican leaders who support diverting it to the stock market or cutting benefits. Worse, if the reduced payroll tax were made permanent, Social Security's long-range funding gap would more than double, converting a modest shortfall decades away into a crisis right around the corner.
Maintaining a permanent lower rate would require the general budget to provide Social Security with a growing amount of revenue at a time when the focus of Congress will be squarely on cutting spending. Congress would then face the unpalatable option of choosing between veterans benefits, defense programs, and children's nutrition, or starting to dismantle the only pillar of economic security relied on by millions of American retirees.
Democrats concerned about a payroll tax cut are not, as some have suggested, engaged in fear-mongering. If anything, we fear that the White House, with its laser-like focus on the critical task of providing middle-class families with tax relief and protecting benefits for unemployed workers, may have unintentionally overlooked this threat to Social Security. This November, Americans did not vote to dismantle Social Security. We cannot ignore the fact that in poll after poll, workers have reaffirmed their willingness to contribute to Social Security in exchange for some basic security at retirement or in the event of a disabling injury or illness.
Congress can help struggling families, boost consumer demand and encourage job creation by enacting tax cuts that have the added bonus of preventing an unprecedented threat to Social Security. A refundable tax credit or singular payment of $800 for individuals and $1,600 for families would actually put more money in the pockets of people who need it most. This viable alternative shares the same price tag as the proposed payroll tax cut and should garner bipartisan support.
Social Security is a promise kept between retirees of today and retirees of tomorrow. It provides two-thirds of retirees with over half their income, lifts 20 million Americans out of poverty, and enjoys overwhelming support from the American people. However, since its enactment there has been a small minority of dissenters gunning to dismantle it. The work of previous Congresses to protect Social Security from budgetary attacks has frustrated those efforts. Even as Congress rushes to deliver middle class tax relief, it is imperative that we get this compromise right.
It would be a real shame if shortsightedness on the part of today's leaders neglected the wisdom of the past and undid a promise that has spanned generations of Americans.
U.S. Rep. Ted Deutch, a Democrat, represents the 19th district of Florida, which includes parts of Palm Beach and Broward counties.
Read more:

Tuesday, December 14, 2010


Hi all,
Be advised that after extensive interviews and a meticulous, formal bid and quote process, the UCO Insurance Committee has selected Brown And Brown Agency to place the Insurance coverages for all of our CV properties.

Brown And Brown will be principally represented on our Campus by Mr, Ty Beba.

This includes our Residential properties and UCO Property.
While all coverages will be offered, each Association will be offered the opportunity to select those coverages it requires in accordance with statute and if desired, various available discretionary coverages; it is important to note that all important coverages will be offered.

Preliminary examination of the coverages and premium numbers indicate the clear opportunity to experience significant reduction in premiums over prior years.
Please view solicitations by any other agency as unofficial, as they are not sanctioned by UCO in any way. If you are in doubt as to the nature of any solicitation, please contact Toni at the UCO Office.

Finally, do not miss the Insurance Town Hall meeting, hosted by The UCO Insurance Committee at the Clubhouse Theater on December 22, 2010 at 9:30 AM; meet Ty and the Brown And Brown supporting staff and get the facts on this critically important issue!

Dave Israel
United Civic Organization

Sunday, December 12, 2010


Hi all,
The following is an extract from the Bylaws of UCO:

"All Officers of UCO must be members of UCO, and be domiciled and reside in Century Village, West Palm Beach, Florida, for a period of not less than nine (9) months of each year in which they serve."

I invite comments, on this item, in particular the bolded bit.

Dave Israel

Insurance Meeting of Dec. 22


Saturday, December 11, 2010


A growing number of associations in the Village are considering “jumping ship” as regards having the insurance coverage on their buildings with Plastridge Insurance Agency, the agency with whom the Village has done business for some time. Our association is among them. From what I understand, the Insurance Committee is looking into changing agencies as well, and has whittled down their choices for 2011 to three, Plastridge being one of the three.

It is very late in the game to be deciding, however. The deadline for our management company to have the final 2011 budget approved by our board is December 15--otherwise, there would not be time to get payment coupons to owners by January 1. But from what I have been told, the Insurance Committee plans to have come to a decision on the agency they will go with by December 21. Not wanting to wait till December, some associations have looked into buying their own insurance.

There’s a lot that could be hashed out about all this, including, why, since no hurricanes have hit us since 2006, Plastridge’s projected rates for 2011 are 10% higher than the 2010 projected rates (the projected rates being the budgeted amounts for most associations). Plus why, when after much prodding, Plastridge FINALLY provided each association with a copy of their 11 policies but (inexplicably?) FAILED to give the prices for the separate policies--making it impossible to know if a policy was worth its cost! And why Plastridge waited so long to divulge the fact that the Village had been turned down by the insurance company that covered damage from internally-caused water leaks (many think because of the suspiciously inordinate number of huge water damage claims in one single year, 2009). Which in turn resulted in the rates for this particular insurance nearly tripling through another company that would write us this insurance.

My question now is only one, however. There is a rumor afloat that associations who make their own insurance arrangements will be penalized in some way. Is there anything to this, and if so, what kind of penalty would this be? Could it be that if an association purchased insurance on its own for 2011, was dissatisfied, and wanted to get back on board in 2012 with the insurances arranged for by UCO, that the association might have to do so at higher rates than if it had stayed with the UCO-arranged insurances in 2011? I am not an insurance expert, but I think could understand this. I get a lower rate on my State Farm insurance for having been with them for a number of consecutive years and had no claims.

Can someone tell me? Many thanks.
Your BLOGMEISTER replies:

Hi all,
This is a wonderful question, let's explore what is a somewhat complex issue:

First let me address this issue of UCO imposed "penalties". This is not the philosophy of "my UCO". I have seen some quasi threats in past correspondence that were simply revolting. They all go along the line of "do this, or sign that - or else...." To simply make a long story short; that is not my "style"; but for the record, those Associations that "jump ship" will be in violation of 28 years of precedence and the 10 year standing Bilateral Agreement, from which we have all benefited.

Now, what about Insurance; Your insurance Committee has been in conference for the last three days with candidate Agencies. The meetings have indeed been restricted to Committee members only, because Company proprietary strategies were discussed. Why were we in conclave for many hours each day; because in accordance with our Bylaws, we went out for bids on our Insurance needs and these three agencies survived the bidding process.

The choice of the Insurance Committee will be revealed very shortly but the strategy governing what your Association will pay, is very much in the hands of each and every one of you! There are very different strategies being employed this year, each building will be individualized depending on their committment to Maintenance and of course the Association claims history. The era of "one size fits all" is over!

Briefly, there are some eleven (11) coverages on the table, they are:

1) Property. The major component of your policy, quotes range from $3.413 - 3.802 million dollars.

2) Difference in conditions (DIC). Quotes range from $450 to $623 thousand dollars.

3) Boiler and machine. Quotes range from $35 to $201 thousand dollars.

4) Crime/Bond . $29 thousand dollars.

5) Wind Buy down. $416 to $892 thousand dollars

6) Ordinance of law. Not quoted at this time due to future expiration date.

7) General Liability. Quotes range from $225 to 242 Thousand dollars.

8) Umbrella. Quotes range from $73 to $121 thousand dollars.

9) Directors and Officers (D & O).  Quotes range from $219 to $224 thousand dollars.

10) Workers Comp. Quotes range from $158 to $173 thousand dollars.

These numbers are approximate and for the entire CV Campus and the quotes are interlaced with a plethora of various Deductibles and conditions; a very complex task to sus out!
So how can every Association control it's individual premium?

The first question you need to ask is "Do we need each and every coverage"?
For example, by accepting the entire package, the premium for the Village can be as high as: $5,996,336.00 plus some 6% in taxes and fees!

However if the Wind Buy downs were rejected, the premium for the Village would be $4,132.872.66 This is a very significant difference.

Clearly if each unit owner has Homeowners Insurance with the mandatory minimum of $2,000.00 loss assessment coverage, they would be covered in the event of a catastrophy requiring your Association to assess each unit to cover the building deductible.

Larger buildings however such as 42, 56 and 80 unit buildings would require each Homeowners policy to have as much a $3,750.00 loss assesment coverage. An 80 unit building, valued at $10,000,000.00 with a 3% deductible would have to come up with a $300,000 deductible payment thus suggesting loss assessment coverage of $3750.00 per unit. Another option would be to establish a "Reserve for Deductible"

One comment on the "jumping ship" mentioned in Lannys Post. There is no possibility that numbers will increase by 10%, as the highest quote we have in hand, assuming all Associations take the full 11 coverages comes to $6,356,116.00 which includes Taxes and fees. The current total premium is $6.9 Million, which suggests a $600K reduction. As noted above, if Wind Buy downs are rejected, we are looking at $4,380,844 a delta from current rate of $2.6 million dollars.

Finally, the Agents UCO are meeting with have decades of Corporate history, hundreds of staff and large geographic footprints. This will serve us well in the event of major Insurance casualty.

A word on the redacted numbers in the policies that were distributed to Associations. Interestingly, the copies distributed to UCO were not redacted, thus, there is no acceptable explanation whatsoever for the redaction, and it will not happen again while I am in office.

The new company sending you letters was filed with Florida SunBiz on April 16, 2010. While the individuals in the company may have many years of experience, what is their Corporate track record in case of a major catastrophy?

So, wait for the numbers and think before you jump! Even if you put out a budget this year with a number for Insurance that turns out to be to high, the excess will be there at year end for any use the Association desires.

Connecting the dots:

For some guidance of what coverages you need, start with the basic coverages mandated by Florida law. These are to be found in the sidebar of this BLOG under "CONDOMINIUM INSURANCE": or simply click on the following URL:

Dave Israel

Thursday, December 9, 2010


I just drove out of the west gate and where the Sonoco gas station is there are
many sheriffs there because they spotted the kidnapper who took a 12 year old
girl from Virginia and the kidnapper shot her mother to death. The sheriffs were
able go arrest one man but the killer who shot her mother is still at large with
the 12 year old girl and hopefully since they know the details of the car and the
plate that they will be able to save that poor girl. My prayers are out for her
safe return.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Thought on a Cold Morning:


Answer: Because you can get so many foolish statistics out of either one.

It bugs me that the weather reporters will say “Today is the coldest January 15 in 25 years in West Palm Beach” as if that’s a big deal. If they said (as granted, they sometimes do) “coldest winter” or even “coldest January” that would be news, and it would be even bigger news if they said “coldest winter in all of southern Florida.” What are the odds that one day out of all the days in a winter will break a record for being coldest ON THAT DAY? Pretty good, if you ask me. So what's the big deal?

Thank you. I feel better for getting that off my chest…….

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Open Letter

The first Friday of every month we have a Delegate meeing in the
Clubhouse and all delegates are asked to attend to hear the issues
that are at hand at Century Village. For the past few months Olga
Wolkenstein makes sure that she gets a mike in her hands to express
issues that have nothing to do with Century Village. All she is doing
is airing dirty linen that does not pertain to any issues concerning
Century Village. Olga, I plus I am sure many of the delegates would
like for you to cease grabbing the mike to talk about issues that have
nothing common with the issues of Century Village.


Dave Israel

Monday, December 6, 2010

Sunday, December 5, 2010


Morotai Beach landing zone
U.S. forces landed on the island of Morotai in mid-September 1944, with the objective of establishing facilities for air campaigns against the Japanese-held Philippines. Morotai is in the north of the chain of islands then known as the Netherlands East Indies (today, Indonesia), and was well positioned for air strikes against the Philippine island of Mindanao.

The photograph shows one of the Morotai beaches where U.S. forces landed.

As the landings unfolded, SIGINT developed by Central Bureau Brisbane (CBB) gave U.S. commanders detailed insight into Japanese strength and plans. CBB was the cryptologic organization established to support Allied operations in the Southwest Pacific Theater and had cryptologic personnel from all the Allied nations involved in the Theater.

Although the Japanese military had not detected the destination or timing of the initial landings, the decrypt of a Japanese message in early November indicated that Japanese headquarters in the Philippines now recognized the threat presented by Allied operations on Morotai and was deploying troops to meet it. Decrypts over the next few days revealed the landing of a Japanese infantry regiment and gave total Japanese strength on the island as 1,900 men.

Although decrypts with specifics about Japanese air raids on American air fields on Morotai in November and December came after the attacks, the U.S. defenders had been forewarned of the attacks by tactical intercept and traffic analysis.
Decrypts of messages relating to Japanese attempts to outrun the American air and naval blockade around Morotai revealed the location of a Japanese military “hideout.” U.S. bombers subsequently attacked and eliminated the Japanese base.
An Army history of the Morotai operation notes that the airfields established there proved extremely valuable in subsequent operations.

SIGINT produced by CBB proved of inestimable value in saving American lives and successful conclusion of the military operations.
Dave Israel

Saturday, December 4, 2010


Forget Adam Sandler; here come the Maccabeats!


Hi all,
The Delegate Assembly video of Friday, December 03, 2010 is now live in Cyberspace.
Click on the link in the sidebar:


Video courtesy of the Channel 63 team

Dave Israel

Friday, December 3, 2010

Congratulations Ed!

Congratulation Ed. It is nice to know that our money is in your good hands. You have already done so much for the Village. I am very appreciative of your hard work.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010


Hi All,
Well, Lanny set me quite a task, and the result is yet another confirmation of the power of the UCO Scan and Digitization project. (For which we could use a few more volunteers)!

The following URL will take you to the CV Traffic Control and Enforcement agreement with Palm Beach County and PBSO.

This agreement was struck by Village Management circa 1992/1993. You will find the Agreement and relevant ancillary documentation at:

See also in the sidebar under Core documents.

Finally, we may say; Lanny "It is Legal"

Dave Israel