Florida’s new insurance consumer advocate wants property insurance companies to produce data to back up their statements about rising water damage claims in South Florida.
Sha’Ron James, who took over the statewide position in August, told participants at a public workshop Tuesday that she has asked the top 15 insurers to document their assertions that non-weather-related water damage claims from South Florida are spiraling out of control.
“My hope is within 30 days, we’ll have data to find out whether what the insurance companies are saying about water loss claims is actually happening,” James told a group of residents at the Fort Lauderdale Commission Chambers.
Citizens Property Insurance Corp. this fall blamed inflated damage claims and lawsuits over the claims for the company’s decision to raise premiums in the tri-county area in 2016 while most policyholders in the rest of state will see decreases.
Insurers say attorneys, repair companies and public adjustors, mostly from Miami-Dade County, are encouraging homeowners to submit water damage claims and sign over the benefits of their insurance policies. The attorneys and companies then inflate the damage claims and sue insurers for thousands of dollars more than the claims are worth, insurers say.