Archive for the News Category
Lake Worth, FL: Over a quarter of a million Florida homeowners who have insurance through Citizens Property Insurance Corporation have had their homes inspected through the Citizens Reinspection Program. 74% of these reinspections, or nearly 200,000 Florida policyholders, have lost valuable wind mitigation discounts as a result. The average impact on those homeowner’s home insurance rates is staggering. These homeowners are hit with on average a 24% rate hike resulting in an average $600 per year in additional premium. Unfortunately, many of these reinspections are simply flawed. Reinspections are based on visual observations and human error may be introduced by large centralized inspection companies that lack local or regional knowledge of building features and construction practices. Some evaluators may also avoid performing due diligence in collecting or researching searches or expend additional effort to assist homeowners who lack qualified documentation, even when the feature (i.e. new roof or shutters) qualifies for discounts.
After reviewing scores of flawed reinspection reports, it was obvious that these homeowners needed help. FAIR partnered with SafeRisc, a statewide network of the best qualified inspectors in Florida to review these reports and achieve reinstatement of credits. The FAIR review process determines if there is reasonable cause to suspect that the reinspection evaluator failed to obtain easily acquired documentation, did not properly review documentation provided by the homeowner, or overlooked features during their visual inspection. The fee for this review is $50 and includes a written report that either validates the reinspection or, provides specific recommendations on how to achieve the reinstatement of credits. To ensure that homeowners do not pay for a review when reinstatement is unlikely, SafeRisc and FAIR have a questionnaire designed to help the homeowner determine whether or not a review might be beneficial.
Homeowners who were stripped of mitigation discounts should get a copy of their reinspection report to reference, and then go to the FAIR website at www.floridainsurancereform.org to start the review process.
These quallity assurance reviews are performed by highly qualified and experienced professionals who have performed thousands of wind mitigation inspections,” said Jay Neal, FAIR’s Executive Director. “More importantly, they will go the extra distance to make sure that eligible credits are verified so that the homeowner’s interests are properly protected.
To find out more: http://fairinsurance4florida.org/reinsp.html
The 2012 hurricane season is predicted to be a slow season this year says Phil Klotzbach and William Gray of Colorado State University. The prediction is 10 named storms and 4 hurricanes. The average season is 12 named storms and 6 hurricanes.
“All vulnerable coastal residents should make the same hurricane preparations every year, regardless of how active or inactive the seasonal forecast is. It takes only one landfall event near you to make this an active season,” Klotzbach said.
Hurricane Andrew is a prime example of how powerful storms can strike even in slow years. The Category 5 system devastated southern Miami-Dade County 20 years ago in 1992 _ a year that otherwise saw only six named storms.
You can read the full press release here – http://tinyurl.com/7hs7ong
Nancy Dominguez, Managing Director for FAPIA is urging all policyholders to check an adjuster’s credentials before signing any agreements.
“We’ve been getting, unfortunately a number of complaints now even before the hurricane season, where some people have been approached by non-licensed individuals, including contractors and roofers, who don’t have a license to adjust claims, apparently offering this so-called service as a marketing effort I presume.”
Read the full article and listen to the MP3 broadcast clip at WFSU - http://goo.gl/nCYlb
You can also learn more about FAPIA (Florida Association of Public Insurance Adjusters) on their website - http://goo.gl/ktIGF
Sun Sentinel released an article on January 4, 2012 addressing just how much Citizens Insurance Company is reportedly spending in legal costs for litigating claims. The information was obtained by Rep. Frank Artiles and said that Citizens spent more than 2.4 billion over five years just on legal cost for claims.
In a letter to the Sun Sentinel, Artiles said that Citizens’ should not be spending so much of policyholders’ premiums on litigating claims because it’s “unsustainable and will bankrupt any private or public company.”
You can read the article online @ http://goo.gl/frDO5
Fox News reported Monday about two homeowners Karina Wilson and Maria Torres who have been completely tossed aside by Citizens Insurance Company. Both homeowners are now fighting Citizens in litigation.
“Citizens Property Insurance Corporation on Monday issued the following response to FOX 13′s request for comment on this story”:
“Citizens is immune from bad-faith liability based upon statutorily provided immunity. Citizens, as a government entity, has no financial incentive, like a private carrier might, to act in bad faith in order to ensure certain results in claims handling or underwriting. Bad faith laws are intended to ensure that carriers do not act in ways that would injure to the benefit of the carrier or those individuals that work at the company.
Regardless of claims or underwriting outcomes with Citizens, no employee or board member of Citizens is paid differently. Our board of governor’s is not compensated for their service and no bonuses are paid to any Citizens employee. If Citizens were subjected to bad faith liability and was forced to litigate and resolve such cases, all that would serve to do is diminish Citizens claims paying capacity and potentially increase assessments on all Florida policyholders after a hurricane.
Director of Legislative & External Affairs
Citizens Property Insurance Corporation“
On January 15, 2010 The Miami Herald had an interesting article published regarding this very topic. The Herald quoted an audit that was conducted recently by the Florida Legislature that compared homeowner claims filed with a public adjuster and without a public adjuster under the Citizens Insurance Company. The following is an excerpt from that report:
Policyholders with public adjuster representation typically received higher settlements than those without public adjusters. Policyholders that filed catastrophe claims in 2008 and 2009 generally received larger insurance settlements than policyholders that did not hire these persons. The typical payment to a policyholder represented by a public adjuster was $22,266 for claims filed in 2008 and 2009 related to the 2004 hurricanes (see Exhibit 6). In contrast, policyholders who did not use a public adjuster received typical payments of $18,659. The difference in payments was larger for claims related to 2005 hurricanes, with public adjuster claims resulting in payments that were 747% higher.
Should you hire a public adjuster to handle your insurance claim? Yes! It is clearly the policy holder’s best interest to hire a “Licensed Public Adjuster”