In an effort to curb the burgeoning claims related to water loss, last resort Florida insurer Citizens has launched a new Water Mitigation Estimate Review Program. This program is aimed at providing the insurer “certified and trained professionals” that will assess contractor invoices and expenses related to the restoration of commercial and residential properties because of water damage.
The goal of the Water Mitigation Estimate Review Program is focused on identifying excessive or inflated charges on invoices provided by contractors that have done water damage restoration work for Citizens policyholders and accordingly adjust or even contest the invoices so that they comply with industry standards.
Citizens is not alone in its allegations that unscrupulous contractors and water mitigation firms are using assignment of benefits (AOB) provisions to their advantage and inflating claims. The so-called “insurance crisis” has resulted in statewide rate increases for homeowners across the state from various insurance companies.
Besides its new program, Citizens has also tackled the AOB problem by including policy contract wording changes related to emergency services and notification requirements that were given the okay by the Florida Office of Insurance Regulation (OIR). The new wording is now standard on all new and existing Citizens policies since last month. At least two dozen other Florida insurers have also taken steps to file policy changes with OIR because of the rise in water claims using AOB.
Citizens’ policy holders are required to mitigate their damages and contact a water mitigation company if necessary. However, how do policy holders know when a water mitigation company is necessary? Will Citizens deny your claim if you fail to mitigate your damages? If the policy holder contacts a licensed and insured water mitigation company and Citizens refuses to pay their invoice, will the policy holder be responsible for any excess amounts owed to the mitigation company? Are policy holders liable to the mitigation company if Citizens fails to afford coverage?
It’s important that policy holders seek representation to assist them with this process. The alternative could mean a denied claim or getting stuck with paying a large mitigation invoice. Call our offices today for a free consultation.
This information is provided by Miami insurance attorney Alonso, Perez & Santos, LLP. Our areas of practice include bankruptcy, insurance litigation, debt harassment, credit card defense, foreclosure defense, immigration law, condominium law, business start-ups, and more. Call 305-676-7545 to speak with one of our attorneys and receive a free consultation We look forward to working with you.
This information is provided for educational or informational purposes only and should not be construed as legal advice. The information is not provided in the course of an attorney-client relationship and is not intended to substitute for legal advice.