The winds of Hurricane Ian gave way to the howls of angry homeowners who couldn’t get their houses fixed.
New evidence in allegations against insurance carriers claims they are defrauding customers out of their claims.
The evidence is coming from multiple whistleblowers who are sharing evidence with the watchdog group, American Policyholder Association.
WINK News spoke with the executive director of that organization, who said most of the people coming forward are actually adjusters who work on behalf of the insurance companies.
“Not a dollar has been net received by us even though we’ve gone through all the appropriate measures,” said Jim, who lives in Rotonda West.
People with all sorts of insurance carriers, not just the ones under investigation, are having a tough time getting the money they need to get their homes back to normal. “And their disconnect is still that far apart,” said Jim.
Jim’s estimated damage to his home is $130,000, but he received an offer that was $90,000 less than that. “It’s kind of endemic to this area like every single person is going through this regardless of the carrier.”
The executive director of the watchdog group, American Policyholder Association, Doug Quinn, says the group just handed over evidence of what they call fraud to state investigators.
“You certainly don’t want people to know that it’s coming. They can cover their tracks,” Quinn said.
He’s not ready to name names but says several insurance carriers are displaying a pattern of not paying policyholders what they’re entitled to.
“What we’re hearing from them [independent field adjusters] is once their work gets turned in to the company that hires them or the insurance company itself, there are people going in and meddling with the claims and chopping them down. In this instance, between 50 to, you know, 95% of the claims,” said Quinn.
Quinn says if the evidence is proven to be true, fines against these insurance carriers may not be enough. “I’m not an attorney, and I’m not a prosecutor. But, you know, having lived through this personally, I’m able to tell you that I do believe it rises to the level of criminal fraud.”
He said there is a simple fix here. “If you’re going to deny that claim, there should be complete transparency in how you’re justifying that. There should be complete transparency in who handled that claim every single step of the way”
We still don’t know exactly which insurance companies are at the center of this investigation. WINK News reached out to Representative Bob Rommel, who the state CFO says helped kick-starttThe investigation. We are still waiting to hear back.