So many Southwest Florida homeowners are waiting for checks from their insurance companies after Hurricane Ian. One Cape Coral homeowner said she got one in January, but when she went to put it in her bank account, it bounced.
There are holes all around Christine Girard’s Cape Coral home and she had another hole in her bank account. Her insurance check from American Integrity Insurance of Florida was nowhere to be found.
“You think you’re paying for somebody to help you if something catastrophic happens,” Girard said. “And they’re not there. They’ve taken your money and don’t think you should get any back when something bad happens.”
Nine months later
As of June, Girard’s roof is still damaged. Her public adjuster, Karen Nelson of Day Adjusting & Consulting, was an independent adjuster for insurance companies for 15 years. She said she often worked for American Integrity. Now, she’s on the other side working as a public adjuster for homeowners. She showed WINK News Consumer Reporter Andryanna Sheppard some parts along Girard’s roof that need to be fixed before another storm comes.
“This here would have been missing shingles and then you can see here that the creases where it lifts up, the next big storm that comes is going to catch underneath that and you have additional damages,” Nelson showed.
Girard hired Nelson shortly after Ian hit to help with all the paperwork that comes with filing a claim. A check from American Integrity came in January.
“The bank sent me an insufficient funds notice and said that you owe $10 because the check bounced,” Girard recalled.
You read that right. She said the check for more than $28,000 bounced.
“I thought I was dealing with a legitimate business,” Girard said in shock. “And it’s not turning out that way.”
So, she filed a complaint with the Florida Department of Financial Services to get answers. How could a check from an insurance company bounce?
“They told me they didn’t know why the check bounced but they told the state the check was taken back because Day Adjusting’s name wasn’t on it. But they didn’t tell me that either. They only told the state that after my complaint was written,” Girard added.
Contacting American Integrity
WINK News Consumer Reporter Andryanna Sheppard reached out to American Integrity and interviewed spokesperson Lisa Miller. She said the company canceled the check before Girard cashed it because the adjuster’s name wasn’t on it.
“We reissued the check to make sure the public adjuster’s name was on it,” Miller confirmed. “From the time she got the check and the time for the next check, she had gone to the bank so it didn’t bounce but the check needed, by contract, to have the public adjuster’s name on it.”
Miller added the company sent a second check, correctly addressed, in April.
“We waited months and it didn’t come,” Girard said.
“It’s June. Has it come?” Andryanna Sheppard asked.
“No. Nothing. Zero.” Girard answered.
Miller said American Integrity thought the check was lost. It later showed up marked “return to sender.”
“When it was returned, it took almost three to four weeks for it to get back to the company. I don’t know if you’ve dealt with returned mail form the post office lately but it’s very challenging. So, even though the address was correct on the check, the public adjuster knew that, the post office didn’t deliver,” Miller added.
Nelson has a different experience where she called and emailed the company multiple times asking where it was.
“It’s always been an excuse and a run around,” Nelson said.
The check arrives
Two days after Andryanna reached out to the company, a new check was printed. It was delivered to Nelson’s office a couple of days later.
But still, Girard worries for her home and doesn’t have much faith in American Integrity to take care of any of her future claims.
“I guess I really don’t have any insurance,” Girard said dejectedly. “They didn’t pay last year. Are they going to pay this year?”
It took six months for Girard to deposit a check into her account. She and Nelson said even though it’s not nearly enough money to fix the damage, they’re happy to start some repairs.
If you are having trouble with your insurance company and would like to share your situation with Andryanna Sheppard, you can do so through this form.