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ONE YEAR AFTER IAN | Thousands have complained about insurance companies

More than 2,500 of the complaints sent to state CFO Jimmy Patronis’s office were about how insurance companies handled their claims.
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Posted at 3:57 PM, Sep 28, 2023

In the year since Hurricane Ian slammed into southwest Florida, more than 750,000 insurance claims have been filed in the state, according to the Office of Insurance Regulation.

A little more than 1% of those claimants, around 8,000 people, have since filed complaints against their insurance companies, an analysis by Fox 4 Investigates found.

More than 2,500 of the complaints sent to state CFO Jimmy Patronis’s office were about how insurance companies handled their claims.

But Doug Quinn, Executive Director of the American Policyholder Association, believes that number is low.

“Most people don’t know you can file a complaint against your insurance company. Most people don’t know how you would do that, even if you wanted to,” said Quinn, who advocates for insurance customers.

In May, the Florida Office of Insurance Regulation started investigating how insurance companies were handling Ian-related claims.

That included allegations of companies changing a field adjuster’s reports.

“I’ve personally witnessed the evidence that these claims were changed dramatically,” said Quinn, who said whistleblowers came forward to his organization.

“It looks very clear that a crime has been committed and we’re just waiting for Florida authorities to finish their investigation.”

State officials didn’t respond to Fox 4 Investigates when we asked about the status of those investigations.

In the days before Hurricane Idalia hit the gulf coast of Florida, the Insurance Commissioner sent a letter to every insurance company in the state telling them that state leaders expect honest and fair claims.

Gov. Ron DeSantis warned the insurance companies the state would be watching.

Quinn says your best bet as a consumer is to keep fighting back.

“Don’t just accept what they’re telling you,” Quinn said. “You’ve paid your premiums 100 cents on the dollar; you deserve to have your claims paid 100 cents on the dollar.”