Fort Myers Beach Vice Mayor Jim Atterholt has been working hard to get residents better treatment from their insurance companies. After losing everything, so many Fort Myers Beach property owners have been getting the run-around from insurance companies, or flat-out denied any money. Atterholt wants these insurance companies to be held accountable
The Florida Department of Financial Services recently announced that the Division of Consumer Services will be hosting Insurance Villages from Monday, April 17th to Wednesday April 19th. On Fort Myers Beach, Diamondhead Resort will host one of the Villages Tuesday, April 18th.
Atterholt is strongly encouraging people to attend and voice their concerns, not only to their insurance companies but to the state regulators as well. “Some of these companies appear to be factoring into their business plans that many people will just give up. If you have a legitimate claim, I strongly encourage you to keep fighting. That can manifest itself in many ways including filing a complaint with Florida regulators, continuing to press your case with your insurance company, hiring a public adjuster or attorney and sharing your story with the media. ”
The state says the villages will serve as an opportunity for policyholders to meet with their property insurer in-person and work together to resolve outstanding claims. Representatives from the National Flood Insurance Program and more than a dozen insurers are expected to be on hand to assist insurance consumers. The insurance companies who will attend have not been announced.
Atterholt believes even more needs to be done to help those that are fighting their insurance companies. “After the storm the complaints against insurance companies at first appeared to be anecdotal. Now, after six months there appears to be systemic abuse by some insurance companies and it is adversely impacting people’s lives and the recovery of our island. I am calling on the Florida Office of Insurance Regulation to launch a market conduct exam of the worst insurance companies serving Fort Myers Beach. This would mean an independent audit is done on how these companies have been handling claims and the cost of the audit is paid for by the insurance company. The Florida Office of Insurance Regulation can take the results of the independent audits and force companies to pay legitimate claims. This action will get the attention of all companies who are not paying proper claims. These a desperate times for many and they require bold leadership.”
Policyholders should bring as much documentation as they can, including:
– A driver’s license or other form of identification (Passport/State issued ID)
– Insurance cards and insurance policy information/documentation.
– Pictures or documentation of the property being claimed as a loss resulting from Hurricane Ian
– Repair estimates
– Any additional insurance-related information that is readily accessible.