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HomeProperty InsuranceFloridian Homeowners Have Worst Probability of Being Paid Property Insurance Claims—One Suggestion...

Floridian Homeowners Have Worst Probability of Being Paid Property Insurance Claims—One Suggestion For What You Can Do To Help Stop This Injustice

An article by Lawrence Mower of the Tampa Bay Times, Insurance Giants Are ‘Stiffing’ Customers in Florida, Report Says, provides some amazing claims statistics:

Floridians filing a homeowners insurance claim had the lowest chance in the 50 states of getting a check from their insurer in 2022, with more than a third of claims going unpaid.

And last year, those filing claims with two of the state’s largest, healthiest companies — subsidiaries of State Farm and Allstate — had the lowest chance of all.

Nearly half of all claims closed by those companies last year went unpaid.

This article cited research by Weiss Ratings, an insurance industry rating agency. In a June 25 report, Large Property Insurers in Florida Fail to Pay Nearly Half of Homeowner Claims, Weiss called for transparency, greater insurance regulatory control and new legislation requiring insurers to share this information with the public:

‘Aggravating the crisis, both the insurers and authorities have hidden critical data that consumers urgently need to make informed decisions about which companies to rely on,’ Weiss added. ‘At the same time, most insurance company ratings are bought and paid for by the insurance companies themselves, biasing the grades and painting lipstick on a pig, while keeping the public in the dark.

But what’s most surprising of all is that some of the companies in Florida with the highest denial rates do have the financial strength to afford to pay a much larger portion of their closed claims.

The 2022 MCAS national survey of claims payment problems, published by the National Association of Insurance Commissioners, validates Weiss’ findings. It shows that, among the 50 states, insurers in Florida not only denied the largest percentage of unpaid claims but also had the nation’s largest percentage of unprocessed claims and the second largest percentage of claims paid only after a 60-day delay. However, the NAIC reports only state-by-state averages and does not disclose its MCAS data on individual companies.

Weiss concludes, “The public can’t even begin to cope with the property insurance crisis until both the industry and the government provide full transparency. Strong truth in insurance legislation is urgently needed.”

Mower interviewed Martin Weiss about the results and quoted Weiss with the bottom-line conclusion from the data:

The big picture conclusion is that the insurers in Florida are stiffing their customers….

The National Association of Insurance Commissioners Summer Meeting will be held in Chicago on August 12-14. One would think that these types of issues would be openly discussed, with insurers invited to respond and regulators openly receiving proposed regulations, which would shed light on why insurers are denying claims at such a high rate in Florida and possibly other states. Nobody should hold their breath that this is going to happen, although I am certain that Amy Bach and United Policyholders will be there doing their best for consumers.

I hate to report on issues just to be one of those social media whiners about news who then do nothing to correct the situation. Steven Bush of our firm went to a NAIC meeting in December, and I have been to them as well. However, these events are dominated by professional insurance industry lobbyists. Merlin Law Group members are not paid insurance lobbyists.

My first suggestion for those wishing to put time and money against these injustices is to support United Policyholders. They have a seat at the table with insurance regulators as a result of their long work regarding these issues. United Policyholders will be holding their Up To Good 2024 on September 20 in Santa Rosa, California. Merlin Law Group proudly supports this event. I would suggest you do so as well if you truly want policyholders to have a voice and make a difference with insurance regulators. Here is a link.

Thought For The Day 

Throughout history, it has been the inaction of those who could have acted; the indifference of those who should have known better; the silence of the voice of justice when it mattered most; that has made it possible for evil to triumph.
—Haile Selassie