Poor Insurance Claim Handling by Citizens Insurance of Florida
(Good for attorneys, but bad for customers!)
Advocate Claims Public Adjusters just had another victory against Citizens Insurance Corporation. Our customer, Doug K., had significant water damage to his home from a 250 gallon salt water fish tank. The water poured out so furiously, it even caused a small electrical fire in his home. The customer, Doug, called his insurance company and began the claims process.
Citizens Insurance of Florida made an offer that wasn’t enough to make the repairs to the home!
After Advocate Claims got involved, Citizens requested another inspection to address the many items that we pointed out, that they left out of their damage estimate. After their second inspection and months of waiting, Citizens finally made another offer to settle this claim.
Citizens was in no rush to deliver a quick settlement, or to pay enough for their customer to fix his home. Their new offer was still not enough money to allow this customer to restore his damaged home!
What to do When the Insurance Company Doesn’t Offer Enough to Pay for Damages:
At this point, we informed Doug of his 3 options under his insurance policy of going to a non-binding mediation, a binding mediation, or hiring an attorney. The homeowner didn’t want to go to court to resolve the value of his damages, if he had other choices available.
You Have Options That Experts Like Us Understand!
We showed Doug the small print language that existed in his insurance policy. We thoroughly explained the pros and cons of all his options. The binding mediation process is called appraisal, (an alternative claim dispute process) and this was explained to him.
Doug was asked if his insurance agent ever explained to him about this language in his insurance policy. Doug said, “No, never!”
You Have a Choice Before You Settle for Less!
Doug liked the fact that he could choose a method of insurance claim resolution. After hearing this, we made a request to Citizens Florida Insurance Corporation to enter into appraisal.
Citizens wrote back that they will agree to go to appraisal, but on a set of conditions. (Many public adjusters and attorneys are aware that Citizens changed their policy language last year.) In the past, the appraisal clause stated “either Citizens or the policyholder could request to go to appraisal, with terms to be agreed upon by the parties involved in the appraisal”. However, this policy was re-written recently….
They Changed the “Rules”…
Citizens imposes a whole set of terms and conditions that you must agree to or Citizens will refuse to go forward to appraisal. So, either you agree to their terms, or sue them. Most people would never agree to their unfair conditions! The terms in their appraisal memorandum are so restrictive and unjust, that it undermines the whole process. They even ask you give up your legal rights to counsel! Most attorneys would agree that you shouldn’t ever give up your legal rights, just to get your insurance claim paid fairly.
So, you might ask, now what? Now you are forced to hire an attorney, to litigate what you are entitled to, for your damages. This obvious unfair tactic is an attempt to discourage and intimidate their customers from receiving fair claim settlements. It forces their policyholders to incur additional out-of-pocket costs by hiring legal counsel. This appears to be exactly the reason why they have chosen to handle claim disputes by this method.
The Florida office of insurance regulation “rubber stamps” the policy language desired by Florida insurance companies. All of these policy changes happened without the policy holder’s knowledge about it…
They Are Using Your Own Money Against You!
Did you know that Citizens can force their policyholders to sue them over and over again, without any penalties? The Florida legislatures have allowed Citizens to have legal immunity from bad faith claim damages.
What the changes really mean: The money that you pay every month for insurance, goes to pay the attorneys that fight against your rights as a policy holder! Citizens can use your money against you by writing your rights out of your policy!
The Happy Ending: Advocate Claims Fought Them and Won!
Our client, Doug, just went through this entire ordeal, and later won his claim against Citizens Insurance! A claim that happened in Dec 2011 is not settled
Here is a real client testimonial:
“Thank you, Steven! We battled Citizens and won! My advice to anyone going through a home owners insurance claim: Don’t try to take on the insurance companies without a Public Adjuster! Thanks to Stephen, we quadrupled the original insurance settlement! THANK YOU!”
Doug K., Florida