Charles Elmore – Palm Beach Post
The CEO of one of Florida’s 10 biggest property insurers told a forum in Boca Raton Tuesday that inflated water-damage claims are “morally wrong” and hurt all consumers by raising rates, while an attorney accused insurers of crying wolf about the latest “crisis” that serves their own needs.
More than 100 executives, attorneys, contractors, consumers and others came to the Troubled Waters forum. South Florida is ground zero in the fight over what insurers say is their biggest problem this side of a hurricane: inflated costs for non-storm claims like plumbing leaks.
The gathering assembled by Florida Insurance Consumer Advocate Sha’Ron James met at Florida Atlantic University with the aim of gathering information that can help legislators and regulators come up solutions after years of conflict and stalemate.
“This is not a victimless crime,” said Paresh Patel, CEO of Tampa-based insurer Homeowners Choice. “We have to figure out a way to protect the many from the actions of a few.”
About 38 percent of his company’s 157,000 policies are in Palm Beach, Broward and Miami-Dade counties, but 88 percent of its lawsuits come from the region, he said.