Florida’s largest insurer Citizens admits in documents obtained by The Palm Beach Post that the state-run company and its contractors made errors in more than 1,500 inspections as part of a huge campaign that raised customer bills by more than $200 million a year.
Inspectors hired by the company stripped premium credits for shutters, roof joints and other features they said didn’t meet the standards for resisting hurricanes. Citizens cleared more than $150 million after paying inspection companies and related costs.
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Citizens inspection Campaign
State-run insurer Citizens paid for inspectors to revisit about 400,000 customers and determine if they qualified for premium discounts for shutters and other features designed to harden homes against hurricanes.
—Average rise in customer bill after inspection: $521.10, or 21.4 percent
—72 percent of those inspected saw bills increase, 10 percent went down, rest unchanged
—436,214 inspections assigned, 391,139 completed through May 31
—Raised customer bills by $212.1 million
—Company cleared $151.8 million after paying inspectors and other expenses
Source: Citizens Property Insurance Corp., Personal Lines reinspection report
How to dispute a Citizens inspection
*Customers can ask for a free, one-time follow-up inspection up to 12 months after an initial Citizens inspection under conditions the company lists at citizensfla.com
*The second look can be for upgrades at the home, to review disputed features, or check inside an attic where access was previously blocked
*The company says it will evaluate reports from a qualified inspector hired by the homeowner who submits a properly completed form.
What The Post Found
Public records requests by the newspaper discovered:
*Citizens documents admit errors in more than 1,500 inspections
*Only 3 percent of customers challenged inspections that raised their bills
*58 percent of challengers got at least partial credits restored