Florida’s Citizens Recovery Unit Increased Policyholder Refunds in 2014

homeowners insurance claim Citizens

Citizens Property Insurance Corp. reports it returned nearly $310,000 in refunds to affected policyholders in 2014 as part of its efforts to recover claims payments of $4.9 million by pursuing reimbursement from product manufacturers, contractors and other third parties responsible for the losses.

Citizens’ recovery unit was established in 2009. Its eight employees are charged with reviewing claim losses that appear to be the fault of someone other than Citizens’ policyholders. Common causes for recovery include defective products, improper installation and negligent actions of other responsible parties.

The recovery unit surpassed its 2014 goal of $3.3 million by more than 30 percent by taking back more than $12,000 per claim in 2014 compared to its rate of more than $10,000 per claim in 2013, according to the company.

Citizens’ ability to recover against parties that caused or contributed to losses sustained by policyholders gave Citizens the ability to refund a total of $309,335 in deductibles on 383 claims in 2014. Affected policyholders received an average refund on their deductibles of more than $800.

Kay Weldon, Citizens claims manager overseeing the recovery efforts says Citizens’ recoveries in 2014 had a direct impact on keeping premiums as affordable as possible while ensuring that Citizens policyholders receive all they are entitled to.

“The funds we recover either go to individual policyholders directly or are set aside to boost Citizens’ surplus to benefit all Florida policyholders,” she said.

Source: Citizens Property Insurance Corp. — http://www.insurancejournal.com/news/southeast/2015/02/20/358125.htm

Continuous Seepage

Continuous Seepage

Continuous SeepageOne of the most common claims filed by homeowners in Florida involves water damage. Water damage can have several causes, including but not limited to plumbing leaks, roof leaks, drain line backups, washing machine leaks or a/c leaks. These water leaks can cause substantial damage to a residence or personal property and furniture. While most insurance policies cover such sudden and accidental water leaks, the most common denial for such claims is the constant or continuous seepage exclusion.   This exclusion comes into play when the insurance company retains an expert or independent adjuster to inspect the damaged property and provide an opinion that the damage is long term. The insurance company will rely on photographs, the existence of prior claims, prior repairs or prior plumbing issues to support their opinion. As a result, homeowners might be faced with the difficulty of trying to prove that the water damage they sustained on their property was sudden and accidental.Continue reading

Complimentary Claim Review

If your property has been damaged, please complete this brief form.  This will give us an idea as to your specific situation when we speak with you.  If you’d rather not fill in the form but would still like to let us know about your damage so that we can help you get a full, fair settlement, you can call us at (954) 463-8100.

Three things to consider for a Claim Review:

  1. Even if you are unsure of whether or not your damage would be worthy of filing, you should submit your information to us.  Often times damage that goes unrepaired turns into a bigger problem later.
  2. After a storm, you may have damage that is not visible to the untrained eye.  If you are in an area where properties around you have sustained damage, there’s a good chance that your property also has damage.  Fill in the form, let us know about it and one of our adjusters will be able to advise you as to the best way to proceed.

Once you submit your information, one of our associates will contact you to follow up. We look forward to assisting you with your claim.

Florida Appellate Court Affirms Holding that Arson Constitutes Vandalism

Arson Constitutes Vandalism

An incendiary fire destroyed a home that had been vacant for more than thirty days. The carrier denied the claim under the policy’s vacancy exclusion that excluded damage caused by vandalism and malicious mischief. The policyholder argued that while one could argue that arson constitutes vandalism, since vacancy was not defined by the policy, the exclusion should be considered ambiguous. The 5th District Court of Appeals in Florida disagreed and affirmed the trial court’s ruling that the plain meaning of vandalism included intentionally set fires. Botee v. Southern Fidelity (Feb. 6, 2015, Fla. 5th Dist.).

House bill aims to curb contractor abuses by barring attorneys fees

Attorneys would not be able to collect fees if they sued insurance companies on behalf of a repair contractor or other third party to an insurance contract, if a proposed state law filed this week is enacted.

State Rep. John Tobia, R-Melbourne Beach, filed the bill Monday, minutes after insurance industry spokesmen asked lawmakers to help curb contractor abuses and increases in lawsuits and repair bills for water damages.

The insurers blame the increase on the ability of home insurance policyholders to sign over their claims benefits to repair contractors.

At a House Insurance & Banking Subcommittee workshop in Tallahassee on Monday, insurance industry spokesmen said attorneys are coaching water damage repair contractors to persuade policyholders to sign over benefits, then inflating invoices and suing. Contractors say they sue when insurers deny payment or pay less than the invoice amounts.

Insurers called for banning or restricting policyholders’ ability to assign their claims benefits.
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