After a denied homeowners’ insurance claim, one of your options is to seek a resolution using the insurance mediation program set up by the Florida Department of Insurance. This program is intended to allow home and business owners to get together with their insurance providers to work out disputes, most of which are related to claims. A neutral, third party mediator oversees this process and makes sure both sides are heard.
The problem is that the program doesn’t work very well, especially for policyholders in Florida. One of the main issues is that there are inherent flaws in the process that make it ineffective for insured individuals, and insurers almost always have the upper hand from the start. Although you are allowed to have an attorney present, it’s extremely difficult to understand and navigate complex insurance policy language and effective argue your case.
Because mediation is typically a way for people who do not want to engage in expensive litigation to resolve a dispute, hiring a lawyer doesn’t usually make financial sense.
Another key problem with the Florida mediation program is that the mediator is only there to facilitate the process and has no ability to force either side’s hand. Mediation is nonbinding unless both parties choose to make it so. This occurs if an additional payment is offered and accepted, and not challenged for three days by either party. In many cases, however, this process quickly falls apart and policyholders are back to where they started — minus the two or three months of lost time from the mediation process.
What should mediation look like?
When you have an issue with the homeowners’ insurance claims process or the unfair result of a claim filed with your insurance company, you should be able to turn to a process that treats all parties equally and fairly. After all, the insurance company has control of the claims process from the beginning, so why should it also have an advantage in mediation?
Considering that the mediation program in Florida is inherently flawed, it’s extremely important to work with a public adjuster when filing your initial claim after your home gets damaged from a storm, burst pipe, strong winds, vandalism or another issue. These professionals know the insurance industry and give you the guidance you need for a better chance at a successful claim from the start. By consulting a public adjuster, you can help avoid the mediation process completely — something you should aim to do at all costs.
Advocate Claims Public Adjusters serves home and business owners throughout Florida, including West Palm Beach, Fort Lauderdale, Hollywood, Delray Beach, Boca Raton and the surrounding areas. To learn more, call 1-954-369-0573 or contact us online.