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CFO Atwater’s Insurance Consumer Helpline Recovers $8 Million for Floridians in First Quarter of 2017

5/18/2017

For Immediate Release:
May 18, 2017
 
Contact: Ashley Carr
(850) 413–2842

 
CFO Atwater’s Insurance Consumer Helpline Recovers $8 Million for Floridians in First Quarter of 2017
~As hurricane season approaches, Floridians are encouraged to make note of helpline number~
 
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – Florida’s Chief Financial Officer Jeff Atwater today announced that assistance provided to Floridians by insurance specialists working Florida’s insurance consumer helpline led to the recovery of nearly $8.1 million in the first quarter of 2017. Recoveries included insurance claim payments and premium refunds that consumers sought the Department of Financial Services’ help collecting.
 
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 January 1, 2017 and March 31, 2017, the helpline’s insurance specialists answered 70,634 calls and opened nearly 5,000 assistance requests. More than $8.1 million was recovered on behalf of 866 consumers.
 
“The insurance claims process can be stressful, and sometimes Floridians feel that they don’t get a fair shake from their insurance company,” said CFO Atwater. “When consumers feel that their claim was handled unfairly, or if they have questions about the process, we’re available to assess the situation and often can offer assistance in resolving their concern. Floridians may not need our number right now, but with hurricane season quickly approaching, I encourage all Floridians to save our toll-free number so they have it on-hand if it’s needed.”
Recent examples of how consumers were helped by helpline specialists include:
 
• A Miami-Dade County consumer was left without transportation following an April 2016 auto accident that totaled her car. The insurance company took possession of the inoperable car in June 2016, but the consumer never received a claim payment. After unsuccessful attempts at resolving the issue herself, the consumer contacted the helpline. Upon working with the consumer’s insurance company, helpline insurance experts determined that a documentation breakdown caused the significant payment delay. Her payment was promptly issued and the company apologized to the consumer.
 
• A Broward County consumer faced nearly $25,000 in mental health care costs that her insurance company was refusing to pay even though mental health care was covered under her policy. After finding the company unwilling to address what she felt was a mistake, the consumer contacted the helpline. After helpline insurance experts contacted the company on her behalf, all of her claims were reprocessed and paid.
 
• After an unexpected trip to the emergency room, a Sarasota County consumer was admitted to the hospital, but her resulting medical claim was denied for lack of prior authorization. She contacted the helpline and insurance experts worked with her company, which admitted they had mistakenly denied the claim, and paid the consumer nearly $40,000 to cover the hospital stay.
 
Floridians can contact the insurance consumer helpline toll-free by calling 1-877-MY-FL-CFO (1-877-693-5236).
 
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Chief Financial Officer and State Fire Marshal Jeff Atwater, a statewide elected official, oversees the Department of Financial Services, serves as Florida’s State Fire Marshal, and is a member of the Florida Cabinet. CFO Atwater’s priorities include fighting financial fraud, abuse and waste in government; reducing government spending and regulatory burdens that chase away businesses; and providing transparency and accountability in spending.