Fairness in Florida Homeowner’s Insurance Claims Handling

The Homeowners’ Policy & Claims Bill of Rights Working Group is tackling issues such as setting parameters for examinations under oath, and policy provisions for mediation, appraisal, and an insurer’s right to repair beginning with two workshops held in Tallahassee on July 17 and July 18, 2013.

Working group participants include consumer organization advocates and representatives for some of Florida’s major insurance companies. Florida Insurance Consumer Advocate Robin Smith Westcott, appointed by Florida Chief Financial Officer Jeff Atwater, is chairing the working group. During the workshops, Westcott said she was concerned with an insurance company checking homeowners’ applications and credit reports after a claim was made, only to deny the claim and void the policy.

Denials, significant reductions in payment of valid claims and delays in claims handling, which hurt vulnerable homeowners, are some of the insurance industry abuses the working group hopes to remedy. The goal is to provide better consumer education and changes to Florida law through a comprehensive, collaborative report that will offer recommendations for improvements either administratively or through new legislation, along with a review of the Policyholders’ Bill of Rights.

The working group aims to have a bill package presented to lawmakers for pre-session committee meetings set to take place in September and October.

Watch the full-length 7/17/13 workshop and 7/18/13 workshop on The Florida Channel.

Article Written by Cohen Battisti, Attorneys at Law.

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