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CAPE CORAL: $1,000,000 fine for insurance company; residents still aren't paid

More than a year-and-a-half after Hurricane Ian severely damaged the condo complex, residents say they're still waiting for payment from Heritage Property and Casualty.
Posted at 6:55 PM, May 29, 2024

Nestled between Veterans Parkway and Pine Island Road in western Cape Coral, frustration is boiling over for some neighbors at the Somerville at Sandoval condo complex.

Nearly two years after Hurricane Ian passed directly over the complex, evidence from the storm’s destruction is still visible.

“It’s been a hardship on a lot of residents here,” said Anthony Marchese, a retiree who moved to the neighborhood in 2019.

Marchese says the condo complex is currently in a legal battle with its insurance provider, Heritage Property and Casualty.

The Tampa-based insurer was recently fined $1 million by the Florida Office of Insurance Regulation.

State regulators say the insurance company used adjusters that weren’t properly licensed and failed to respond to customers on time.

“They’re doing something wrong,” Marchese said about his insurance company. “They’re not being upfront and honest with their policies holders who pay, religiously, their premiums upfront.”

"That fine is just a slap on the wrist," said John Lobianco, Jr. another resident at the condo complex.

Heritage says they’ve made improvements to how they work with their customers.

They also announced a 3.3% rate decrease that will take effect on premiums this year.

“We are dedicated to offering our customers essential homeowners’ insurance while maintaining the high level of service they expect from us,” said Ernie Garateix, Chief Executive Officer of Heritage.

The insurance giant is one of nine companies that recently announced rate decreases.