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South Mississippi Living 4/07

Monday, November 19, 2007

Florida: Hurricane Damage & Denial of Coverage - Citizens Property Insurance Corporation

The following is a story written by a Citizens Property Insurance Corporation customer living on the east coast of Florida. It alleges that the company canceled the family's wind-only insurance policy without giving proper notice. Four major hurricanes ravaged Florida between August and September 2004.

After Hurricane Frances we called Citizens Property Insurance Corporation to file our claim. After hours on the phone, I was advised by a customer services representative at Citizens Property Insurance Corporation that our Wind-Only policy was cancelled almost exactly one year ago due to non-payment. We received no notice, written or otherwise, of the impending cancellation of the policy and we received no notice when our policy was indeed cancelled. We were shocked because for the previous 12 months, we had taken comfort in the fact that our home and its contents were properly insured.

Like most people, our property taxes and insurance are paid from our escrow account with our mortgage company. Our mortgage company claims that it never received a bill from Citizens Property Insurance Corporation for the insurance premium so it went unpaid. Our insurance agent claims not to have received notice from Citizens Property Insurance Corporation of the impending cancellation of the policy and claims further that he did not receive notice from Citizens Property Insurance Corporation when the policy was indeed cancelled. And, as I indicated above, we, the homeowners, received nothing from Citizens Property Insurance Corporation concerning a lapse or cancellation of our policy.

The only document we received from Citizens Property Insurance Corporation was a renewal notice from approximately one year ago which was clearly marked "THIS IS NOT A BILL. THE PAYOR OF YOUR POLICY HAS BEEN INVOICED" and "DO NOT PAY." It appears that Citizens Property Insurance Corporation did not notify the homeowner, the lending institution or the insurance agent of record of the potential for cancellation due to nonpayment despite the fact that the insurance premium was sitting in our escrow account waiting to be paid.

As it stands now, we do not have a hurricane or wind insurance policy for our home but we feel in our hearts that the responsibility for our lack of insurance rests with someone other than us, the homeowners. We feel confident that there are others in a similar predicament. We would like to band together with those individuals to see if there is something that we can do to have our insurance reinstated at its last premium rate and recoup the losses we have incurred due to Hurricanes Charley, Frances and Ivan.

If your policy was canceled by Citizens Property Insurance without your knowledge, it may be important to contact an attorney who can help protect your legal rights. Please keep in mind that there may be time limits within which you must commence suit.

Attorneys associated with will evaluate your case free of charge. In addition, you will not pay any fees unless your attorney recovers money for you. Please click Ask An Attorney to take advantage of this valuable service.

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1 comment:

Tadpushy said...

Unfortunately I feel the homeowner bears some responsibilty. One can't be complacent about hurricane insurance. When a copy of the policy didn't show up in the mail they should have been on the phone to both their insurance company and their mortage company finding out what the problem was. Granted, somewhere along the line someone screwed up and the homeowner's going to be the one who pays the price.
No one care more about the homeowners welfare than the homeowner. It's the homeowners ass that's hanging out there, so the homeowner had better be prepared to take care of business.