Consumer Advocates Call for Strong Action Against Florida Insurers After Hurricane Ian Fraud Scandal

Reports Indicate that Insurance Companies Have Altered Damage Assessments, Delayed Payments, and Paid Nothing On 125,000+ Claims

Washington, DC — Consumer Federation of America (CFA), United Policyholders, and the Center for Economic Justice called on Florida regulators to investigate and punish insurance companies that have been defrauding, abusing, or mistreating Floridians in the wake of Hurricane Ian. In a letter to the Office of Insurance Regulation (OIR), the consumer organizations urged that Florida conduct thorough investigations, enact a transparency law, and revoke the licenses of companies that committed fraud and hold their leaders accountable.

“As three of the leading national organizations focused on protecting and advocating for property insurance consumers, we write to urge aggressive action against any insurer that has defrauded, abused, or otherwise mistreated Floridians in the aftermath of Hurricane Ian,” the groups wrote. “The stories of homeowners who paid premiums for protection but who are now living in trailers, shelters, and their own cars are heartbreaking and unacceptable. Your agency needs to be investigating and prosecuting the insurer fraud that contributed to this situation.”

In March 2023 the Washington Post published an exposé revealing that insurers and their adjusters were rewriting damage reports and slashing damage estimates to avoid paying claims for homes damaged by Hurricane Ian. The reported fraud by insurance companies has left some Floridians living in shelters or unsafe houses while the insurers refuse to provide the claims payments that are due.  The letter also highlighted the fact that over 33,000 Florida claims linked to Hurricane Ian are still open without payment, long passed the payment deadline, in addition to over 125,000 claims that have been closed without payment.

“Market Conduct Exams have been critical to penalizing and remedying illegal claims practices after past disasters, and it is critically important that Florida’s OIR undertake them now on Ian claims,” said Amy Bach, Executive Director of United Policyholders.

“Articles and witnesses indicate that insurance companies are cheating consumers in order to deny claims and avoid payouts,” said Michael DeLong, CFA’s Director of Insurance. “This all happened while, instead of worrying about insurance company accountability,  OIR and the Florida legislature were focused on special sessions to weaken consumer rights and diminish consumer access to Citizens Insurance. It is time for OIR and the legislature to prioritize consumer protection.”

In the letter, the groups call for OIR transparency about the investigations it has begun, a broad investigation of the industry’s behavior after Ian, real accountability for bad actors, and legislative reform that will strengthen consumer protections and increase transparency about claims handling.