Florida’s Chief Financial Officer Jimmy Patronis today announced that assistance provided to Floridians by insurance specialists working Florida’s insurance consumer helpline (1-877-MY-FL-CFO) led to the recovery of nearly $9.3 million in the third quarter of 2017. Recoveries included insurance claim payments and premium refunds that consumers sought the Department of Financial Services’ help collecting.
CFO Patronis said, “Now more than ever, it’s crucial for Floridians to know that they have an unbiased place to turn for insurance information. As many families continue to navigate the post-storm claims process, I encourage them to call us if they reach a roadblock of any kind. Our experts will advocate on their behalf, and quite possibly, secure a positive outcome to a problem that seemed otherwise unsolvable. We’re only one call away, and we’re always ready to help.”
The helpline assists Floridians with financial and insurance-related matters, including disaster preparation and insurance fraud, as well as questions and complaints regarding auto, home, health, life and small business insurance. Between July 1, 2017 and September 30, 2017, the helpline’s insurance specialists answered 70,454 calls and opened nearly 4,500 assistance requests. Nearly $9.3 million was recovered on behalf of 1,307 consumers.
Since January, the helpline has answered more than 211,000 calls, opening nearly 14,000 assistance requested and helping return a total of $25.9 million back to Floridians.
Recent examples of how consumers were helped by helpline specialists include:
- A Bay County consumer asked for the Department’s assistance with an automobile claim after his car was stolen in January 2017. After providing his insurance company with the police report and supporting documentation to validate the theft, he stopped hearing from his insurance company. Following several unsuccessful attempts at reaching his insurance adjuster, who had previously acknowledged receiving the documentation, the consumer called the helpline. The insurance company said that staff turnover had derailed the processing of property damage claims, but quickly processed and paid out the consumer’s $6,100 claim.
- A Brevard County consumer filed a homeowners’ claim for Hurricane Matthew damages in October 2016, and, after all repairs had been completed, the consumer filed a second claim in Spring 2017 for the recoverable depreciation. The consumer’s second claim went unanswered for months, until she contacted the Helpline for assistance. The insurance company acknowledged receipt of the second claim, but could provide no valid reason why it had not responded to the consumer or paid the claim. Soon after speaking with a DFS insurance expert, the insurance company apologized to the consumer and promptly paid the $1,372 claim.
- A Citrus County consumer requested the Department’s assistance when, after her sister’s passing, her sibling’s life insurance company continued to demand monthly premium payments rather than paying out the policy benefit. Even after providing a death certificate and beneficiary information, several calls to the life insurance company could not solve the problem. A DFS insurance expert reached out on the consumer’s behalf, and the company acknowledged the miscommunication and delay. The nearly $10,000 policy benefit was promptly paid out to the consumer as her sister’s beneficiary.
- A Brevard County consumer contacted the helpline to settle an aging but unresolved homeowners’ claim. The consumer’s insurance company offered $10,000 in June 2016 to settle the claim, but the consumer declined and hired a public adjuster to help her. The public adjuster she hired worked alongside the insurance company’s adjuster to submit a second settlement offer, which was rejected by the insurance company. After going to mediation and reaching a settlement amount in April 2017, the claim was still not paid by the company. Upon calling for assistance, helpline experts secured the release of the $61,000 payment to the consumer.
Floridians can contact the insurance consumer helpline toll-free by calling 1-877-MY-FL-CFO (1-877-693-5236).