• Florida Insurance Consumer Advocate Forms Homeowners' Policy and Claims Bill of Rights Working Group
  • July 17, 2013
  • Law Firm: Colodny Fass Talenfeld Karlinsky Abate Webb P.A. - Fort Lauderdale Office
  • Florida Insurance Consumer Advocate Robin Smith Westcott announced today, July 10, 2013, that her office has launched the "Homeowners' Policy & Claims Bill of Rights Working Group" to discuss potential improvements to the homeowners' insurance claim process for the purpose of helping Florida homeowners who suffer a financial loss during the insurance claims process.

    The Working Group is composed of representatives of consumer organizations and industry representatives. Its creation is based on feedback received by Ms. Westcott in her collaboration with Florida Department of Financial Services' Division of Consumer Services Director Tasha Carter on a series of consumer insurance forums.

    Held recently throughout Florida, the forums provided a platform for homeowners to discuss their experiences with filing a claim. Many described long and frustrating processes that impeded their families' ability to recover financially.

    "Consumers should not be victimized by poor claims handling and unscrupulous business practices by those seeking to exploit homeowners when they are most venerable," Ms. Westcott said.

    The following issues will be discussed by the Working Group:

    • Adjusting and Investigating a Claim - Examinations Under Oath
    • Post-Claim Underwriting and Material Misrepresentation on an Application
    • Solicitation of Consumers within 48 - 72 Hours of a Loss and Policyholders' Requirement to Mitigate Damages
    • Assignment of Claims and Unauthorized Adjusting of Claims
    • Insurers' Right to Repair - Safeguards and Warranties for Consumers
    • Non-Renewal of Policies - Post-Claim but Prior to Repairs
    • Mortgage Company Withholding of Funds for Repairs for Loans in Arrears and Guarantee 100% Replacement Cost
    • Mediation and Appraisal
    • Other Issues Identified by the Working Group

    The goal will be to produce a comprehensive report that provides recommendations for addressing each item either administratively or through proposed legislation. In addition, the Working Group will review Florida's current Policyholders' Bill of Rights.

    The Working Group will hold two full-day workshops this month in Tallahassee.

    The workshops will be held in the Florida House of Representatives Capitol Complex, Committee Room 404, House Office Building on Wednesday, July 17, 10:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m., and Thursday, July 18, 9:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m. and televised on the Florida Channel WFSU at http://thefloridachannel.org/. The conference call-in number for those who wish to listen to the workshop is 850-413-1558, Conference ID: 6125894.

    Ms. Westcott is an appointee of Florida Chief Financial Officer Jeff Atwater.