Florida CFO Plans to Introduce Legislation to Prevent Fraud

In the aftermath of Hurricane Ian, Florida's Chief Financial Officer is calling for a major overhaul in the way insurance is handled in order to prevent fraud.

Source: News4 | Published on October 21, 2022

Florida homeowners insurance market

State CFO Jimmy Patronis has stated that he intends to introduce new legislation in the upcoming session to address issues ranging from bad public adjusters to assisting consumers in understanding exactly what they're signing.

The announcement comes as new insurance claims pour in as a result of Hurricane Ian.

The Florida Office of Insurance Regulation reported on Wednesday that there had been 553,242 reported claims since Ian made landfall, with an estimated $6.45 billion in insurance losses. 386,426 of those claims were for residential property.

Patronis stated that he has a plan in place to combat fraud in the aftermath of the storm.

"Public adjusters enter the market, and there are good public adjusters and bad public adjusters," Patronis explained.

He believes his plan will weed out bad public adjusters because it will reduce the amount they are entitled to immediately following a storm by creating a schedule of how Florida residents' payments will be distributed.

"Those who truly want to help people will be able to continue to help people in the state of Florida," Patronis said. "However, if you come in after a storm or a disaster, we will limit your ability to take advantage of people."

The plan also calls for a complete prohibition on Assignment of Benefits, or AOBs.

AOBs are agreements that transfer insurance claim rights or policy benefits to a third party.

Patronis also wants a statewide prosecutor whose sole responsibility is to deal with property insurance fraud. He is also requesting $3 million for an anti-fraud and public education campaign.

The CFO also emphasized the Anti-Fraud Homeowner Squad, which was established last year. Patronis stated that the squads have already checked in with 7,000 people, contractors, and businesses to check for licensure, follow up on fraud leads, and open investigations since Ian's impact.