WFSU | By Blaise Gainey Published January 12, 2021 at 8:37 PM EST
Florida’s Insurance Commissioner says claims solicitation is raising the cost of Florida’s property insurance industry for both consumer and provider. David Altmier told a Senate panel Tuesday that rates for property owners will continue to rise unless something is done.
David Altmaier, head of the Office of Regulation, used a graph to show lawmakers the losses insurance companies took in 2020.
“That’s almost a billion dollars, little over a billion dollars in underwriting losses for Florida’s domestic industry through the first three quarters of 2020,” said Altmaier. “So that’s not even a full year yet and we’ve almost doubled the underwriting losses from last year.”
Altmaier says while lawsuits are a main driver—a growing issue is roofing claims.
“You might have heard a lot about roofing claims that are going on in our state with particularly the solo counties that I reference moments ago. These don’t appear to be normal roofing claims in which a consumer notices that they’ve had a loss and calls their insurance company, but instead solicitations,” said Altmaier.
Altmaier says the process begins not by a consumer but rather a person or company seeking a victim.
“This isn’t a consumer noticing they’ve got a leak. This isn’t a consumer that’s had a tree hit their roof,” said Altmaier. “This is someone who saw an advertisement or in the case on the left got something hung on their doorknob that says if you give me a call I can get you a new roof through your insurance company.”
Sen. Annette Taddeo (D-Miami) is raising the possibility of cracking down on agents that solicit customers.
“Should we not go after them through all the licensing and all the things,” said Taddeo. “I’m talking not leave it up to the insurance companies, leave it up to us to ensure that our consumers aren’t being taken advantage of.”
Altmaier offered a more systematic approach.
“Should we regulate some of these industries a little bit more, I’m not qualified to speak on whether we should do that or not,” said Altmaier. “But I do think that based on what we’ve seen with our insurance expertise we have seen some areas that seem to incentivize this type of behavior and I certainly would advocate that we spend some time addressing that.
The overview provided an update for senators returning back to the Capitol. From now until the end of session they are likely to hear several bills that will try and address the status of Florida’s property insurance market.