Category Archives: Property (Homeowners)

Rise In Searches For ‘How To Set Fire’ As Economy Crashes

Internet search queries for “how to set fire” are spiking amid the downturn from the coronavirus pandemic, which experts say is a sign that some people may be planning to commit insurance fraud. Search term data compiled by Google shows that the number of users looking for information on how to start a fire grew by 125% in the last week of March.

Insurance companies are highly attuned to the potential for fraud, but risk experts believe it’s too soon to tell. There was a similar kind of anticipation around 2007 to 2009, “that we were going to see just ungodly amounts of insurance fraud triggered by an economic downturn,” said Frank Scafidi of the National Insurance Crime Bureau, but this never occurred to the scale some projected. They saw an increase in arson activity related to cars, however, where a vehicle would be reported stolen to an insurance company when the owner had a hand in the car’s disappearance.

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Filed under Fraud, Property (Homeowners)

Jacksonville Woman Pleads Guilty to Disaster Fraud

Bernita Willette Carswell of Jacksonville pleaded guilty to one count of disaster assistance fraud. Carswell claimed her primary residence was damaged during Hurricane Irma, causing her to stay in a nearby rental property. The Federal Emergency Management Agency paid Carswell $15,024.80 in rental assistance, although she never actually left her home. She faces up to 30 years in prison, as well as paying restitution.

Click here to read the article.

Filed under Fraud, Property (Homeowners)

UPDATE: Jacksonville Roofer Pleads Guilty and Pays Back Homeowner in Clay County

Jacksonville roofer Roger Van Den Bosch has paid back one Clay County homeowner and pleaded guilty to first-degree misdemeanor trespassing. He resolved a separate Duval County case, pleading guilty to four felonies, and agreeing to pay back the customers fully. Van Den Bosch and his company Kinnecorps still face a civil lawsuit from Florida Attorney General Ashley Moody.

Click here to read the article. (Previous post)

Filed under Fraud, Property (Homeowners)

Florida Panhandle Struggles to Recover from Hurricane Michael

Thousands are still struggling to recover from Hurricane Michael in the Florida Panhandle. The Category 5 storm left 22,000 of Bay County’s residents homeless and few affordable living spaces available. With nearly $7 billion in total insurance losses, about 1 in 6 insurance claims remain unresolved. There is reportedly a mental health crisis and a shortage of healthcare professionals as well.

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Filed under Hurricanes, Property (Homeowners)

UPDATE: Roofer Convicted of Insurance Fraud in Duval Charged with Grand Theft in Clay

Jacksonville roofer Roger Van Den Bosch has been officially charged with grand theft in Clay County, just months after pleading guilty to insurance fraud, forgery and theft. In May, the Kinnecorps owner was convicted in Duval County and ordered to pay more than $50,000 in restitution, serve probation and do community service.

Prosecutors are now focusing on a Van Den Bosch’s felony grand theft charge, which he plead not guilty to in a case involving a Clay County homeowner.

Click here to read the article. (Previous post)

Filed under Fraud, Property (Homeowners)

UPDATE: New Charges Filed Against Jacksonville Contractor & Suspected Fraudster

Eighteen new charges have been filed against Jacksonville contractor, Wyatt Green. Green was arrested in April on charges of organized fraud, forgery and grand theft. The list of Green’s victims has grown from a handful to 19. Homeowners contacted I-TEAM saying that their insurance companies had paid Storm RS to make repairs to their homes that were never completed.

Click here to read the article. (Previous post)

Filed under Fraud, Property (Homeowners)

Florida Supreme Court Dismisses Review of Assignment of Benefits Dispute

A divided Florida Supreme Court discharged jurisdiction and dismissed the review proceeding of an assignment of benefits case due to a law that was passed this spring revamping the AOB system.

According to court documents, the policyholders, John and Liza Squitieri assigned benefits to Restoration 1 to clean up water damage in their home. However, their insurance company Ark Royal Insurance Co. refused to pay the full amount. Restoration 1 sued Ark Royal for breach of contract but lost in circuit court and appeals court.

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Filed under Legislation, Property (Homeowners)

New Claims Technology to Tackle Increased Water Damage Claims

There have been a lot more claims for water damage than wind damage in recent years, including the trillions of gallons of water Texas experienced when Hurricane Harvey hit in 2017. Since that time, water damage claims have gone up each year, representing more than 50% of hurricane claims.

Here are a few of the new technologies in the following areas are being used to help combat this uptick in water and flood loss:

  • Faster, easier and better-targeted forms of communication
  • Faster estimating
  • Virtual inspections
  • Damaged item valuation
  • Smarter vendor selection using data and analytics

Click here to read the article.

Filed under Property (Homeowners)

Florida CFO Urging Insurers to “Step Up” in Closing Out Remaining Hurricane Michael Claims

Florida CFO Jimmy Patronis is urging insurance companies to resolve the more than 21,000 open insurance claims related to Hurricane Michael. On the 9-month anniversary of Hurricane Michael, CFO Patronis released a statement to acknowledge “great strides in recovery,” but noted there’s a lot more work to do.

Click here to read the release.

Filed under Property (Homeowners)

What Laws Did or Did Not Pass During Florida’s 2019 Legislative Session

Many laws that were passed by the Florida Legislature during the 2019 legislative session effect the insurance industry. The majority of the laws took affect on July 1st. Here’s a summary of what did and did not pass.

Here’s what passed:

  • HB 7065 – AOB Reform (Effective date: July 1, 2019)
  • HB 301 – Insurance “Omnibus” bill (Effective date: July 1, 2019)
  • HB 617 – Flood Insurance Disclosure (Effective date: July 1, 2019)
  • HB 107 – Hands-Free Driving Requirement (Effective date: July 1, 2019)
  • HB 311 – Autonomous Vehicles (Effective date: July 1, 2019)
  • SB 1024 – Blockchain Technology Task Force (Effective date: July 1, 2019)
  • HB 1393 – Modifies Areas Regulated by the Florida Department of Financial Services (Effective date: July 1, 2019)
  • HB 7091 – Hurricane and Flood Loss Model Trade Secrets (Effective date: October 1, 2019)
  • SB 426 – Firefighters Cancer Benefits (Effective date: July 1, 2019)
  • HB 1253 – Prescription Drug Monitoring Program (Effective date: July 1, 2019)
  • SB 983 – First Responder PTSD (Effective date: Upon becoming law)

Here’s what didn’t pass:

  • HB 323 – Motor Vehicle Insurance Coverage for Windshield Glass
  • SB 1052 – Motor Vehicle Insurance/Personal Injury Protection (PIP)
  • HB 7077 – Medical Malpractice
  • SB 538/HB 387 – Nonadmitted Insurance Markets
  • HB 751 – Duty of Good Faith

Click here to read the article.

Filed under Legislation, Property (Homeowners)