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Property insurance fraud: Why are there so few convictions in Florida?



TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) – In 10 days, Florida lawmakers will meet in Tallahassee for a distinct consultation supposed to handle hovering charges. 

Some Floridians are seeing their premiums double. According to Jimmy Patronis, Florida’s leader monetary officer, fraud is using that.  

The state won greater than 1,700 pointers or experiences of assets insurance coverage fraud remaining yr. In the tip, simply 14 other folks have been convicted, consistent with knowledge from the Florida Department of Financial Services (DFS).

Some lawmakers at the moment are asking if Florida is doing sufficient to discourage the crime.

“So we started at 1,700 and we held accountable 14 convictions. That concerns me a little bit,” mentioned State Rep. David Smith, a Republican from Seminole.  

DFS is answerable for preventing assets insurance coverage fraud.

Lawmakers say the frequency of fraud, particularly roofing schemes, is inflicting the marketplace to cave in.

At a House committee assembly in October, DFS Fraud Director Simon Blank used to be pressed at the company’s conviction price.

“Are we aggressively pursuing that?” Rep. Smith requested. “Can you tell me a little bit about what we’re doing to take on roofers and that type of homeowners’ fraud?”

Blank answered, “Homeowner cases are in particular kind of hard to work, they’re very time consuming.”

Blank defined the complicated instances announcing, particularly, it’s tricky to end up the intent component of the crime.

Here’s how the scheme regularly works, consistent with lawmakers: Contractors promise a loose roof, post an inflated declare, then sue the insurance coverage corporate. The corporate sooner or later settles, shedding tens of millions. The prices get handed right down to you.  

For months, 8 On Your Side has documented the toll of hovering charges on householders.

“We have got to be able to have more resources available to dedicated insurance prosecutors,” CFO Jimmy Patronis mentioned. “At the end of the day, there’s only so many hours in the day.”

Patronis is the top of DFS. At a information convention this week saying grants to offer protection to firefighters, 8 On Your Side requested Patronis about fraud and if he desires to look extra other folks convicted for assets insurance coverage fraud.

“I personally don’t want to see anybody convicted. The reason I don’t want to see anybody convicted because the laws right now are allowing this sketchy activity,” he mentioned. “I can’t call it illegal because it’s not illegal.”

“What we are prosecuting are those that have really made a mistake in their unscrupulous business scheme they got,” Patronis added. “I can always use more help but the help that we really need is with the Florida legislature to close the loopholes that are allowing the gaming of the system that is what’s driving your insurance rates up.”

Patronis looked as if it would say you’ll be able to’t implement your method out of this. On Thursday, the CFO introduced he sought after to rent 23 new other folks to combat assets insurance coverage fraud. That request will likely be made to lawmakers right through the particular consultation on May 23.

Patronis could also be looking for to extend monetary incentives for reporting fraud.

If you’re a home-owner impacted by means of fraudulent task, e mail Investigator Mahsa Saeidi at MSaeidi@WFLA.com.



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