With insurance fraud on the rise around the country and particularly in Florida, Johnson Strategies reached out to Barry Zalma for some thoughts and opinions which he summarizes in this true crime account titled: “The Largest Residential Burglary of All Time.” [Read more…] about INSURANCE FRAUD HURTS EVERYONE!
Lawmakers, please be aware…Florida’s domestic property insurers are losing money hand over fist!
2020 financials are in and tallied. Some “scary” Florida domestic numbers just came out from Guy Carpenter, and Net Underwriting Losses have been published by S&P Global Market Intelligence. Meanwhile, Demotech affirmed existing ratings for 22 carriers and demurred on a few others via its’ press release. This, as prelude to its’ final ratings update due March 19.
First, let’s number this article PART II in the series dealing with Property Insurance Fraud, its’ precedent being PART I—Florida’s Pyramid of Property Insurance Fraud, which you should read first.
Next, don’t let the title or the startling image above mislead–this is not a critique of Florida’s Department of Financial Services (DFS). To the contrary, it’s meant to answer the question I am persistently asked…“Why doesn’t DFS stop all the illegal claim solicitations?” Answer: it hasn’t been given the authority needed to do so–which is a legislative failing. [Read more…] about Public Adjusting– NO LICENSE?
NOTE: During this time of sticker shock rate increases many homeowners laser focus on price–perhaps understandably as some truly cannot afford to spend another penny. However, far too many react without a thought to the overall value proposition. JS reached out to contributor, David Thompson, for his unique perspective and decades of experience in such matters.
To forward David’s article to anyone making important insurance policy decisions, see “share this article” below.
This begins a multi-part series examining the epidemic level of fraud in Florida’s property insurance market. It’s triggered by a recent USA Today article featuring commentary and research laying the blame on lax state enforcement.
The article referenced a study by the Office of Program Policy Analysis and Government Accountability (OPPAGA), published February 1, 2021, requested by Senator Jeff Brandes (R-St. Petersburg) and delivered to the legislature, titled: Several Factors Hinder Homeowner and Auto Glass Insurance Fraud Processing.
In “Collapse of an Evil Empire! PART IX—Thumbs UP, Thumbs DOWN?” I opined that the Bar’s response to Scot Strems “Brief” arguing that his recommended sentence was too harsh, would be that it was too light and instead of two years suspended license, the Bar would argue that he be permanently disbarred.
I was right! The Bar asserted exactly that in a 90-page “Answer Brief” filed February 5th with the Supreme Court which you can read here.
Though the legacy of these proceedings will flourish for years to come, the final judicial chapter is now within site and will be available to us all when the Supreme Court decides these final assertions made by both sides.
Stay tuned for when that momentous day arrives, hopefully soon.
The first of many significant hurdles to normalcy in Florida’s property market was cleared Tuesday when SB-76 emerged unscathed from the Senate Banking and Insurance Committee via a 9 to 3 bipartisan vote. Two Senate hearings remain before it goes to the floor–next being the sometimes prickly Judiciary Committee chaired by Senator Jeff Brandes (R-St. Petersburg). Senator Brandes voted for the bill as a member of Senator Boyd’s Committee and has been a staunch advocate for common sense reforms, including attorney fee multipliers and reductions in the time for promptly filing a claim.
Perhaps because Florida’s Insurance Commissioner David Altmaier says claims solicitation is raising the cost of Florida’s property insurance industry for both consumer and provider insurers – frustrated by a lack of criminal prosecution of insurance fraud perpetrators, have taken to civil courts to deter crime by taking the profit out of the criminal schemes.
David Altmaier told lawmakers the losses insurance companies took in 2020 were almost a billion dollars, little over a billion dollars in underwriting losses for Florida’s domestic industry through the first three quarters of 2020, so “that’s not even a full year yet and we’ve almost doubled the underwriting losses from last year.”
Altmaier said, while lawsuits are a main driver-a growing issue is roofing claims. He reported that roofing claims do not appear to be normal roofing claims in which a consumer notices that they incurred a loss and calls their insurance company, but instead solicitations.
The parade has always been there, of course, with attorneys at the fore, guarding their treasure chests and characterizing their lawsuits as the result of insurers that “don’t pay their claims.”
Remember sinkholes and Sinkhole Alley? A new law passes (over their objection) and miraculously, no more sinkholes, no more alley. AOB, same thing.
Ron Hurtibise with the Sun Sentinel penned an article titled “Insurers using RICO Act to strike back against alleged fraud.”
By examining insurers use of the Federal Racketeering, Influence and Corrupt Organizations Act, Hurtibise highlighted an oft neglected layer in Florida’s horrible property market. Water mitigation firms are unregulated—the only players in Florida’s substantial pyramid of fraud to be so blessed and, as a consequence, so likely to behave badly. (See NOTE #1 below)