Since the Florida Legislature is currently in session, we are being inundated with insurance industry talking points in the media. The most consistent talking point, and the one that frustrates me the most, is that we need to eradicate “fraud” because it is costing consumers money.
Yes – fraud is bad and should be prosecuted. “Fraud” is defined in Florida Statutes, and is not a difference in opinion as to damages or an insured’s desire to fight for what is owed under the policy.
It is not “fraudulent” for an insured to disagree with the insurance company’s estimate/decision and hire a public adjuster whose estimate may be higher than the carrier’s. Furthermore, it is not “fraudulent” for a public adjuster or an attorney to fight for every right and benefit due to the policyholder. The industry’s attempt to eviscerate an insured’s ability to fight for what is owed under the policy is at the heart of most “reforms” sought in Tallahassee each legislative session. To take it a step further, the industry always suggests that these “reforms” will lead to lower premiums because of how much “fraud” is costing policyholders.
As faithful readers of this blog, you are no doubt aware that several “reforms” have been signed into law over the past few years. Have premiums gone down? Or do Floridians still pay the highest property insurance rates in the country? When will we see the promised premium reductions resulting from the “reforms” of the past few years? (hint – answers below)