I know a family in New York that recently received a phone call from a California company purporting to be affiliated with a major insurance company. The California company asked for personal information, claiming the information was germane to the insurance company’s assignment to investigate an auto insurance claim that was resolved nearly three years ago. The California company’s effort appears to have been a scam designed to obtain personal information. Thankfully, in this day and age of hacking, identity theft, and the like, the family was skeptical enough to recognize the fishiness of the situation and did not reveal any personal information to the California company. This bizarre situation got me thinking that it would be a good idea to caution the unwary as to a couple of things.

If an insurance company wanted to outsource a claim investigation to a third-party adjustment / investigation agency or re-open a seemingly dead claim, the carrier should advise you in writing.

If you were to receive something in writing along these lines, you should, before divulging any information, ask the carrier to further explain itself in writing. In Florida, insurance companies are statutorily required to “explain the nature of the requested information and the reasons why such information is necessary.”1 Also, if you encounter a belated investigation effort, (especially from a third-party supposedly affiliated with your insurance company), you should consult with an insurance attorney. Among other things, the insurance attorney should be able to ferret out whether the “investigation” effort is legit and, if so, should be able to advise you as to whether the insurance company’s belated conduct is legally tenable. In Florida, the law does not condone belated investigations.2

In sum, it is wise to tread carefully when confronted with an odd insurance-related situation or belated claim investigation effort.

1 Fla. Stat. § 626.9541(1)(i)3.h.
2 Fla. Stat. § 627.70131(5)(a) (requiring property insurers to investigate and decide claims within ninety days of claim notice).