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'Under attack by fraudsters': Florida's insurance industry is in trouble, state CFO says

Posted at 4:45 PM, May 12, 2022
and last updated 2022-05-13 06:26:00-04

TAMPA, Fla — Thursday, state leaders addressed Florida's property insurance crisis saying they hope to bring down insurance rates with new anti-fraud initiatives.

Jimmy Patronis, Florida's Chief Financial Officer, admitted the state's insurance industry is in trouble.

"Florida’s communities are under attack by fraudsters who are willing to do anything to game the system," Patronis said. “Policyholders need to know that this time of activity is fraud and this type of litigation increases their policy premiums. This is why your insurance rates are going up."

Paul Storm told ABC Action News for weeks roofing companies knocked on his door asking to replace his roof because of storm damage. But he said it didn’t have any storm damage.

“I mean, I see the signs go up all the time, you know, I got my roof for free. Nothing in life is free, somebody's paying for it, it just may not be you. And this is the case here, in my opinion," Storm added.

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According to the Office of Insurance Regulation, Florida accounts for 9% of the entire country’s homeowner insurance claims while accounting for 79% of the nation’s homeowners insurance lawsuits over claims filed.

“The bottom line is these fraudulent claims, they go into your rate and you’re paying for it. And people miss that. You are paying for these fraudulent claims," President and CEO of Citizens Insurance Barry Gilway said.

Patronis proposed five initiatives for the special session on property insurance he hopes will bring down rates for everyone. They include a request for 23 new positions to investigate fraudulent claims, $3 million for an anti-fraud and public education campaign for policyholders, and an initiative to essentially incentivize people to report fraud.

The special session is set for the end of the month.