More Than $17 Million Returned to Florida Policyholders in 2011

Florida insurance recoveriesFlorida regulators announced they have recovered more than $17 million for consumers so far in 2011, with $4.7 million recouped during the year’s third quarter.

The recoveries, which include claim payments, premium refunds and restitution, are a result of officials at the state Department of Financial Services’ helping to resolve disputes between auto, homeowner and other policyholders and their coverage providers.

“In these challenging economic times, it is more important than ever that we help Floridians keep and protect their hard-earned dollars,” Jeff Atwater, the state’s chief financial officer, said in a news release.

Residential property and casualty claims accounted for nearly $1.6 million of recoveries from July through September–the largest share for that time period–followed by annuities ($936,000) and private auto claims, which totaled more than $750,500.

Consumer service representatives fielded nearly 100,000 calls regarding coverage during the third quarter, according to a release. The Division of Agent and Agency Services, which licenses insurance professionals and investigates alleged violations of state law, handles an average of 600 cases monthly, officials said.

Atwater said consumer representatives are available to address policyholder concerns about the auto insurance Florida motorists are legally required to carry and to answer questions regarding homeowner, life and other policies.

“Our helpline specialists offer detailed answers to consumers’ questions, provide valuable information regarding important financial decisions and assist in recovering money and property for Florida consumers,” he said.

In one instance, regulators were able to help a Clay County man fix up and move back into his motor home after his claim for substantial damages to the vehicle was delayed, leaving him homeless.

The man contacted the Division of Consumer Services, and officials requested that the company immediately review the man’s claim. The claim was settled quickly and the man received a payment of more than $124,000, according to the release.

About Gregor McGavin
Gregor McGavin is an award-winning journalist who has reported across the country for such publications as The Associated Press, the Arizona Republic, the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review and the Press-Enterprise.

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