Florida Consumer Advocate to Review Insurers’ Homeowners Claims Handling

July 12, 2013

Florida’s insurance consumer advocate is launching a group to look at how insurance companies are handling claims from homeowners.

Robin Smith Westcott said she is creating a working group to come up with recommendations, including whether legislators should change state laws that cover policyholders.

Westcott, who was appointed by Chief Financial Officer Jeff Atwater, said she decided to organize the group after getting feedback from frustrated homeowners at recent forums where she said many described long and frustrating processes that impeded their families’ ability to recover.

“Consumers should not be victimized by poor claims handling and unscrupulous business practices by those seeking to exploit homeowners when they are most vulnerable,” Westcott said in a statement.

Westcott said the working group — named The Homeowners’ Policy & Claims Bill of Rights Working Group — will meet July 17 and 18 for full day workshops in Tallahassee, then issue a report covering each of the topics discussed along with recommendations.

The working group will include representatives from consumer organizations and the insurance industry.

The following issues will be discussed by the working group:

  • Adjusting & Investigating the Claim – Examinations Under Oath
  • Post-Claim Underwriting & Material Misrepresentation on the Application
  • Solicitation of Consumers within 48 – 72 Hours of a Loss and Policyholders’ Requirement to Mitigate Damages
  • Assignment of Claims and Unauthorized Adjusting of Claims
  • Insurers’ Right to Repair – Safeguards and Warranties for Consumers
  • Non-Renewal of Policies – Post-Claim but Prior to Repairs
  • Mortgage Company Withholding of Funds for Repairs for Loans in Arrears and Guarantee 100 Percent Replacement Cost
  • Mediation and Appraisal
  • Other Issues Identified by the Working Group

 

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