The title of this blog post came from Corey Harris’ quip to me after he read a recent media post, Claims of Florida Insurance Companies Underpaying Policyholders Under Investigation. My hope is that Jimmy Patronis does a thorough investigation and finds what the vast majority of Hurricane Ian policyholders with significant claims already know—the insurers are not promptly and fully paying benefits owed under the policy. 

The problem is this: Do The Investigators Know What They Are Doing To Properly Find Insurance Company Claims Misconduct, and How Can We Trust Them To Conduct This Investigation? 

Jimmy Patronis ran a restaurant before he became Florida’s Chief Financial Officer. It is a great restaurant in Panama City Beach, Florida. One that I have been to numerous times. 

Running a restaurant and fully understanding insurance claim unfair claims practices are two very different fields of study. I have been doing it for over 40 years and learning more all the time. I am not certain what Patronis and his staff have been studying to learn how to do this properly. Who is personally heading the investigation? How many are there? What are their qualifications? Are they truly motivated to find wrongful behavior in an insurance industry that has given millions to Patronis? How can he assure us that the millions of dollars given to him by the entity he is investigating will not influence him and that Floridians should trust him? 

The public has only recently found out that the person heading up the investigation has received so much money from the insurance industry. Does he realize that many who have been harmed from delayed and underpaid insurance claims now question whether he and his department are fit to do this investigation?  

This “elephant in the room” has to be transparently answered without political rhetoric because “the people” are not so stupid that they cannot put the dots together and figure that the “fox is in the hen house” when it comes to insurance regulation in Florida.   

Remember my post, Chip Merlin Busted By Florida Insurance Investigators! Do these investigators really know how to investigate claims practices if they cannot even find my bar license?  I did not even get an apology from them nor an explanation. Everybody makes mistakes, but no acknowledgment of a mistake is worse—unless they were just trying to harass a person who is for the policyholders rather than the insurance companies. 

We all can change and be better. All of us make mistakes. It is human. I personally like Jimmy Patronis, but, in his position, I would suggest he consider the following if he wants to be a trusted leader of the people:

1. He should acknowledge that he should not have taken insurance company campaign money and will not do so in the future. 

2. He will hire independent prosecutors with a budget to hire insurance claims experts to help find and expose the corruption within the system. 

These two simple steps would restore confidence in Floridians. It would also scare the heck out of the insurance claims industry and help stop what is going on. 

Until then, the bottom line is that Corey Harris’ comment has truth—Ray Charles may have a better chance of hitting a major league pitch than Patronis’ team finding the depth of corruption and wrongdoing by Florida’s insurers, and property insurance claims departments. 

Thought For The Day 

I am very into lyrics. I start with what the words are saying, what the storyline is saying, like a good script. It should really capture me, do something for me. If I don’t get it, it’s not going to move people, and if it’s not going to move people, it’s not going to happen.

—Ray Charles