Assistance provided to Floridians by from Florida’s insurance consumer helpline led to the recovery of nearly $9.3 million in the third quarter of 2017, according to a statement from Florida’s Chief Financial Officer Jimmy Patronis. Recoveries included insurance claim payments and premium refunds that consumers sought the Department of Financial Services’ help collecting.
The helpline assists Floridians with financial and insurance-related matters, including disaster preparation and insurance fraud, as well as questions and complaints regarding auto, home, health, life and small business insurance. Between July 1, 2017 and Sept. 30, 2017, the helpline’s insurance specialists answered 70,454 calls and opened nearly 4,500 assistance requests. Nearly $9.3 million was recovered on behalf of 1,307 consumers.
Since January, the helpline has answered more than 211,000 calls, opening nearly 14,000 assistance requested and helping return a total of $25.9 million back to Floridians.
“As many families continue to navigate the post-storm claims process, I encourage them to call us if they reach a roadblock of any kind. Our experts will advocate on their behalf, and quite possibly, secure a positive outcome to a problem that seemed otherwise unsolvable. We’re only one call away, and we’re always ready to help,” Patronis said.
Recent consumer recoveries include:
- A Bay County consumer asked for DFS’s assistance with an automobile claim after his car was stolen in Jan. 2017. After providing his insurance company with the police report and supporting documentation to validate the theft, he stopped hearing from his insurance company. Following several unsuccessful attempts at reaching his insurance adjuster, who had previously acknowledged receiving the documentation, the consumer called the helpline. The insurance company said that staff turnover had derailed the processing of property damage claims, but quickly processed and paid out the consumer’s $6,100 claim.
- A Brevard County consumer filed a homeowners’ claim for Hurricane Matthew damages in Oct. 2016, and, after all repairs had been completed, the consumer filed a second claim in Spring 2017 for the recoverable depreciation. The consumer’s second claim went unanswered for months, until she contacted the helpline for assistance. The insurance company acknowledged receipt of the second claim, but could provide no valid reason why it had not responded to the consumer or paid the claim. Soon after speaking with a DFS insurance expert, the insurance company apologized to the consumer and promptly paid the $1,372 claim.
- A Brevard County consumer contacted the helpline to settle an aging but unresolved homeowners’ claim. The consumer’s insurance company offered $10,000 in June 2016 to settle the claim, but the consumer declined and hired a public adjuster to help her. The public adjuster she hired worked alongside the insurance company’s adjuster to submit a second settlement offer, which was rejected by the insurance company. After going to mediation and reaching a settlement amount in April 2017, the claim was still not paid by the company. Upon calling for assistance, helpline experts secured the release of the $61,000 payment to the consumer.
Floridians can contact the insurance consumer helpline toll-free by calling 1-877-MY-FL-CFO (1-877-693-5236).
Source: Florida Department of Financial Services
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