Insane insurance rates in Florida made worse by shady contractors

Like many Central Florida residents, Kevin Quinn was shocked to learn that his home insurance company had canceled his policy. The company’s reason: the estimated 16-year age of its roof. “It’s just funny. It was a terrible blow,” Quinn said. He had a roof inspector check it out and found that the roof still had about seven years of useful life left in it. As of July 1, insurance companies cannot cancel coverage in such situations because of laws signed by Gov. Ron DeSantis after the special session in May, but Quinn’s policy cancellation was dated June 24. “There’s no point in throwing something away that’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, 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. This has been going on for years,” said III spokesman Mark Friedlander. WESH 2 Investigates filed a public records request to better understand cases of home insurance fraud in Florida. Here is an overview of 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 decreased in 2019 ., but by the end of 2021 they had increased by about 98%. Who is responsible? Insured persons? Lawyers? Performers? The insurance companies? Florida Chief Financial Officer Jimmy Patronis said it’s mostly contractors. But Patronis also said unethical contractors, public regulators and lawyers game the insurance claims process. Under Florida law, policyholders can have a third party file and settle their insurance claims. It’s called misappropriation of benefits (AOB), which is the loophole that many analysts believe people are abusing. But you can help stop it. “If someone walks up to you and says ‘hey, I think you have a potential insurance claim’ and they point it out to you, my first call would either be to my office at 877- MY FL CFO, your insurance agent, or your carrier to start the dialogue,” Patronis said. Friedlander also emphasized the importance of curbing AOB abuse. “If we stem 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 Florida’s complex 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 is a barrier to buying for many. WESH 2 Investigates: Central Florida residents stunned by skyrocketing home insurance premiumsRelated: Florida property insurance company goes bankrupt, leaving policyholders scramblingRelated: $600 million fund available to help struggling Floridians to save their homes

Like many Central Florida residents, Kevin Quinn was shocked to learn that his home insurance company had canceled his policy. The company’s reason is the approximate 16-year age of its roof.

“It’s just ridiculous. It was a terrible blow,” Quinn said.

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

As of July 1, insurance companies can’t cancel coverage in such situations because of laws signed by Gov. Ron DeSantis after a special session in May, but Quinn’s policy cancellation was dated 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 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, 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 reroofing fraud schemes and failed lawsuits. This has been going on for years,” said III spokesman Mark Friedlander.

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

Here is an overview of 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 detected fraud cases decreased in 2019, but by the end of 2021 they had increased by about 98%.

Who is responsible? Insured persons? Lawyers? Performers? The insurance companies? Florida Chief Financial Officer Jimmy Patronis said it’s mostly contractors.

But Patronis also said unethical contractors, public regulators and lawyers are playing games with the insurance claims process.

Under Florida law, policyholders can have a third party file and settle their insurance claims. It’s called misappropriation of benefits (AOB), which is the loophole that many analysts believe 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 point it out to you, my first call would be to either my office at 877-MY FL CFO, your insurance agent, or your operator, to start the dialogue,” Patronis said.

Friedlander also emphasized the importance of curbing AOB abuse.

“If we stem 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 Florida’s complex 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 is a barrier to purchase for many

WESH 2 investigates: Central Florida residents are baffled by skyrocketing home insurance premiums

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

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

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