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Florida Insurance Consumer Advocate Westcott Calls for OIR Investigation into Insurance Company Post-Claim Underwriting Tactics

Press Release

Oct.30, 2012

850-413-5923

TALLAHASSEE, FL–Florida Insurance Consumer Advocate Robin Smith Westcott today informed Florida Insurance Commissioner Kevin McCarty of a troubling new trend. Westcott has found that some homeowners’ insurance companies are denying claims by intentionally using credit information after a claim has been reported to accuse Florida policyholders of misrepresentation on applications, sometimes after collecting premiums for years.

In a letter to McCarty, Westcott said the tactic should be considered an unfair trade practice because it puts consumers in a precarious position and threatens homeowners’ financial stability.

“This tactic threatens homeowners’ financial well-being as well as the state’s economy and must be addressed swiftly and appropriately,” Westcott said. “This is a real-life Halloween trick that does not treat consumers fairly. We must give consumers relief from this game of ‘gottcha.’”

Westcott’s letter is attached. Pages containing consumers’ personal financial information have been removed.

The Insurance Consumer Advocate is appointed by Florida Chief Financial Officer Jeff Atwater and is committed to finding solutions to insurance issues facing Floridians, calling attention to questionable insurance practices, promoting a viable insurance market responsive to the needs of Florida’s diverse population and assuring that rates are fair and justified.