Florida’s high insurance rates were exacerbated by shady contractors

Like many Central Floridians, Kevin Quinn was shocked to learn his home insurance company was canceling his policy. The company’s reason: the approximate 16-year age of its roof. “It’s just ridiculous. That was a gut punch,” Quinn said. He had a roof inspector check it out and determined the roof still has about seven years of useful life left in it. Starting July 1, insurance companies can’t cancel coverage in similar situations because of laws Gov. Ron DeSantis signed after the May special session, but Quinn’s policy cancellation dates back to June 24. “There’s no sense in throwing something away. It’s perfectly fine,” he said. Quinn eventually found coverage with another carrier, but he’s paying more for it, and he’s not alone.The Insurance Information Institute (III) reports that the average Florida homeowner will spend $4,231 to insure their home this year , which is nearly three times the national average of $1,544. filthy rich, they’re doing a good job,” Quinn said. “Because of this endless stream of fraudulent roof replacement schemes and runaway lawsuits. This has been going on for years,” said III spokesman Mark Friedlander. WESH 2 Investigates filed a public records request to understand more. well home insurance fraud cases in Florida Here’s a look at the number of open cases over the past five years: 2017 – 234 cases2018 – 294 cases2019 – 123 cases2020 – 121 cases2021 – 2 cases The number of open fraud cases dropped in 2019, but by the end of 2021, they’re up about 98%. Who’s responsible? Policyholders? Attorneys? Contractors? Insurance companies? Florida Chief Financial Officer Jimmy Patronis said it’s mostly contractors. But Patronis also said unethical contractors, public adjusters and attorneys are gaming the insurance claims process. Under Florida law, policyholders can have a third-party file and open submit their insurance claims. It’s called an assignment of benefits (AOB), which is the loophole that many analysts say people are abusing. But you can help stop it. “If someone comes up to you and says ‘hey, I think you have a potential insurance claim,’ and they’re showing it to you, my first call would either be to my office at 877- MY FL CFO, your insurance agent or your operator to start the dialogue,” said Patronis. Friedlander also stressed the importance of cracking down on AOB abuse. “If we stop the flow of these unscrupulous contractors and these third-party cases that will begin to help stabilize the insurance market in Florida,” Friedlander said. WESH 2 News is committed to helping you navigate the complicated Florida home insurance market. If you have a problem with your insurance coverage or settling a claim, contact our investigative team at [email protected] Related: Florida’s frustrating home insurance situation stands as buying barrier for many WESH 2 Investigates: Central Floridians surprised by rising home insurance premiums Related: Florida property insurance company goes under, let the cops meddle.

Like many Central Floridians, Kevin Quinn was shocked to learn his home insurance company was canceling his policy. The company’s reason: the approximate 16-year age of its roof.

“It’s just ridiculous. That was one hell of a punch,” Quinn said.

He had a roof inspector check it out and determined that the roof still has about seven years of useful life left on it.

Starting July 1, insurance companies can’t cancel coverage in similar situations because of laws Gov. Ron DeSantis signed after the May special session, but Quinn’s policy cancellation dates back to June 24.

“There’s no sense in throwing away something that’s perfectly good,” he said.

Quinn eventually found coverage with another carrier, but he’s paying more money for it, and he’s not alone.

The Insurance Information Institute (III) reports that the average Florida homeowner will spend $4,231 to insure their home this year, which is nearly three times the national average of $1,544.

“If they want to drive people out of the state, except for the really filthy rich, they’re doing a good job,” Quinn said.

“Because of this endless stream of roof replacement fraud schemes and runaway lawsuits. This has been going on for years,” said III spokesman Mark Friedlander.

WESH 2 Investigates filed a public records request to better understand home insurance fraud cases in Florida.

Here’s a look at the number of open cases over the past five years:

2017 – 234 cases
2018
– 294 cases
2019
– 123 cases
2020
– 121 cases
2021
– 244 cases

The number of open fraud cases fell in 2019, but by the end of 2021, they had increased by around 98%.

Who is responsible? Policyholders? lawyers? The contractors? Insurance companies? Florida Chief Financial Officer Jimmy Patronis said they are mostly contractors.

But Patronis also said unethical contractors, public adjusters and attorneys are gaming the insurance claims process.

Under Florida law, policyholders can have a third party file and settle their insurance claims. It’s called an assignment of benefits (AOB), which is the loophole that many analysts say people are abusing.

But you can help stop it.

“If someone comes up to you and says ‘hey, I think you have a potential insurance claim,’ and they’re showing it to you, my first call would be either to my office at 877-MY FL CFO, your insurance agent . or your carrier to start the dialogue,” Patronis said.

Friedlander also stressed the importance of cracking down on AOB abuse.

“If we stop the flow of these unscrupulous contractors and these third-party cases, it will begin to help stabilize the insurance market in Florida,” Friedlander said.

WESH 2 News is committed to helping you navigate the complicated Florida home insurance market.

If you have a problem with your insurance coverage or settling a claim, contact our investigative team at [email protected]

Connected: Florida’s frustrating home insurance situation stands as a barrier to purchase for many people

WESH 2 investigates: Central Floridians surprised by rising home insurance premiums

Connected: Florida property insurance company goes under, leaving policyholders scrambling

Connected: $600 million fund available to help Florida residents struggling to save their homes

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