Florida home insurance company fined $1 million for policyholder mistreatment

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Victims of Hurricane Ian were mistreated by this insurer, which must now pay a fine

One of the largest home insurance companies in Florida has agreed to pay a fine of $1 million after having been accused of policyholder mistreatment.

Affected customers are those who were victims of Hurricane Ian

According to state Insurance Commissioner Michael Yaworsky, Heritage Property and Casualty Insurance was in violation of Florida law for failure to pay or deny home insurance claims within 90 days.

Home insurance - claim denied - 90 days

Hurricane Ian was just easing out of Category 5 status and into Category 4 as it made landfall in the state.  The storm stomped its way through Southwestern Florida communities two years ago, leaving over 150 people dead and causing an estimated $112 billion in damage.  Federal officials issued substantial amounts of federal disaster aid to impacted regions. 

The home insurance company is accused of leaving policyholders waiting

“Insurance companies need to deliver to their customers,” said Insurance Information Institute’s (I.I.I.) Mark Friedlander. “They are financial first responders. This is why policyholders pay their premium for their insurers to be there to help them recover as quickly as possible.”

According to Friedlander, the $1 million fine against the insurer is the second highest ever issued in Florida.  He added that Heritage Property and Casualty Insurance provided inadequate response across four different categories.

Accused of missing the mark

“Really the primary categories were slow to respond to claims, slow to pay claims, used improperly licensed adjusters and kept poor records,” explained Friedlander.

An Office of Insurance Regulation report from March 2024 showed the following findings:

  • The insurer failed to acknowledge receipt of 98 customer claims within the required 14 days.
  • The insurer’s policyholders say the insurer failed to pay or deny claims within the required 90-day limit.
  • The insurer failed to maintain complete records for the claims filed by 10 of its customers.

Furthermore, state officials also accused the home insurance company of failure to detail the number of overall claims it received due to Hurricane Ian damage.

That the insurer was held accountable and fined is good for the property insurance industry in the state, according to Friedlander.

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