Florida Property Insurance Fraud Alert
For the last few years, Florida homeowners are troubled by the continuously escalating property insurance costs. Many private insurance companies are charging exorbitant sums as insurance premiums. It is because they are swamped by the unprecedented number of insurance claims and other legal proceedings. While the argument that it is the effect of the number of violent weather events Florida suffers, experts and observers point out another alarming trend in the field. It is the increasing number of insurance frauds.
Two people were recently arrested for such fraud. Their motive was to coerce homeowners to submit a full roof replacement claim to their insurance companies even if their roof damage is comparatively minor and not covered in the relevant policies. The fraudsters promise a brand new roof to the homeowner without any usual deductibles. Thereafter, the homeowners are asked to transfer the claim rights to the fraudulent roofing companies.
In this way, many small private insurance companies try to survive by imposing an inflated premium on the homeowners. Even then, many of these companies cannot evade insolvency.
The National Insurance Criminal Bureau has recognized more than 35 fraudulent roofing concerns during its investigation. “We have the names and addresses and limited liability corporations” says the NICB CEO David Glawe. Nevertheless, he is not at liberty to disclose more details as the investigations are still underway. The NICB comprises retired FBI agents and other experienced investigators. The bottom line is their findings are totally credible.
Another curious fact that came to light is that the number of insurance claims and litigations registered in Florida is far greater than in the rest of the country. The companies with criminal backgrounds are finding Florida, with its unpredictable weather and aggressive weather, a fertile ground for earning a few illicit dollars.
Insurance fraud is calculated to be billions of dollars (3 to 6 billion) While the fraudulent companies are earning huge amounts of money, the insurance companies and homeowners have to bear the brunt of it in the form of insurance claims and insurance premiums.
The greatest difficulty the homeowners face at present is that many insurance companies are not renewing the policies or even canceling the existing ones. The only way for them to keep afloat is to charge huge amounts as premiums. Even then, they are losing money in claims and litigations. The regrettable consequence is that Florida homeowners find it extremely difficult to insure their property against frequent hurricanes and storms.
It is a matter of great relief that NICB is taking things seriously and striving hard to keep the insurance business alive in Florida.