Florida loses another policyholder advocate. On Tuesday, Robin Smith Westcott resigned from her appointed position as Florida’s Insurance Consumer Advocate. Ms. Westcott will leave her consumer post on October 31, 2013 to work for an advisory organization for insurance companies. Westcott will take a job as the vice president of governmental affairs for the American Association of Insurance Services.
Robin Westcott, Florida’s Consumer Advocate, led another meeting of the Homeowners’ Policy & Claims Bill of Rights Working Group – this time in Clearwater, Florida. Westcott’s office will proffer a draft for a statutory Bill of Rights for Homeowners and provide a detailed report outlining the concerns and suggestions of the Group.
Floridians with residential property damage claims have a right to demand participation in the state mediation program if they have a dispute with their insurance company, but are disputes really getting resolved in these non-binding mediations? The Department of Consumer Services, a section of the Department of Financial Services, oversees this alternative dispute resolution process. This form of mediation is not to be confused with pre-trial mediation.
Florida Insurance Consumer Advocate Robin Westcott has gathered together a twenty member group to help her draft recommendations for a Homeowners’ Policy & Claims Bill of Rights. The group met for two days in Tallahassee to work face-to-face on topics impacting Florida’s homeowners. The Florida Channel captured the meetings.
Although I have a few other things going on (www.shawforflorida.com) I was able to watch most of the Homeowners’ Policy & Claims Bill of Rights Working Group sessions that were televised yesterday and today. As Ms. Westscott’s predecessor in the Office of the Insurance Consumer Advocate, I was very interested in how this workgroup would play out. I have personal knowledge of how hard it is to pull something like this off. The politics of the invite list, the give and take regarding the agenda, and the task of moderating the discussion can be difficult to manage.
I just finished day one as a participating member of the Homeowners’ Policy and Claim Bill of Rights Working Group. Thursday will be the second and final day of in-person meetings by the Group. Robin Smith Westscott, Florida’s Consumer Advocate, hosted the working group with the help of organizer, Vickie Twogood.
Robin Westcott announced through a press release that a Homeowners’ Policy & Claims Bill of Rights Working Group was formed. The press release indicated the following:
Every insurance company says it conducts itself honestly and fairly when handling a customer’s insurance claim. But how do you know it really is acting honestly and fairly? In California, policyholders with losses have a right to see their claims file.
The Florida Senate recognizes the bad acts of Florida’s Universal Property Insurance Corporation (UPIC). Just yesterday, the Senate passed an amendment to HB635 that added language prohibiting insurance companies from some types of “post-loss underwriting.” House approval is needed before the legislation can be sent to the Governor for his signature.
Continue Reading What a Coincidence? Universal Property & Casualty Engages in Post-Loss Underwriting and Makes 30 Million in Profits
Florida law should reflect public policy that Citizens Property Insurance Corporation is the insurer of last resort. Currently, Citizens is merely the insurance agent’s insurer of last resort. I propose legislation be enacted that makes a clearinghouse for admitted insurers to take policies before they get into Citizens and before Citizens renews any policy.