Property Insurance Fraud: How Common is it and is it Really to Blame for Florida's Property Insurance Crisis?
Property insurers throughout the state have continued to push the narrative that the reason for lost profits and sky-rocketing rates is fraud committed by public adjusters, roofing contractors, mitigation companies, and attorneys. Florida does have one of the highest rates of litigation for property insurance claims, but placing the blame solely on the insureds side fails to address the entire picture.
Property insurance companies will often hire "third-party" insurance adjusters to assess the cost of the damage and its repair. Often, these assessments come far under what is necessary to place the homeowner where they were prior to the damage. In fact, two insurance companies in Florida have had racketeering lawsuits filed against them for engaging in these practices.
Furthermore, insurance companies rarely pay out what the homeowner is entitled to, leaving them with no choice but to pursue litigation. Insurance policies that homeowners pay into for years are often denied even though they are legitimately plead claims. Even during litigation, there are situations in which insurance companies would rather spend years litigating, expending thousands of dollars in attorney's fees, only to offer a settlement at the eleventh hour. The homeowners end up being dragged through years of litigation and heartache, and the insurance companies end up paying twice as much, or more, than they would have if they had paid the fair amount from the get-go.
While there may be some who are bad actors within the Florida property insurance scheme on the homeowner's side, insurance companies are not blameless in that they pass the cost of poor practices onto the consumer, in the hopes of achieving higher profits and salaries for top executives.
This article is not intended to be legal advice nor create an attorney-client relationship.