Agreement Reached: Nationwide to Audit Last Year’s Florida Hurricane Claims, Correct Underpayments

October 12, 2005

Nationwide Insurance has reached an agreement with the Florida Office of Insurance Regulation to audit its claims from the 2004 hurricane season and correct any underpayments.

OIR announced that under the agreement Nationwide will also pay $250,000 in administrative costs for an investigation by its office into Nationwide’s claims.

Nationwide also agreed to review its adjusting procedures and repay money when multiple deductibles were incorrectly applied if the policy holder wasn’t already reimbursed through the state’s program for those hit with multiple deductibles.

Nationwide will send letters to policyholders who may be eligible for reassessment of whether they were incorrectly assessed more than one deductible.

Nationwide, Florida’s fourth-largest home insurer, said it will submit summary reports to state regulators showing itemization of each claim reviewed and the amount of payment to each policyholder.

More than 228,000 Florida homeowners have Nationwide policies.

A Nationwide statement said:

“Nationwide’s goal in signing the consent order is the same as it has always been, to ensure all our customers are treated fairly. Nationwide is pleased we were able to work with the OIR to resolve the issues raised.

“It is significant the order noted no violations of the Florida Insurance Code or any liability on Nationwide’s part. We feel this validates that Nationwide’s handling of claims from last year’s storms was timely, efficient, and customer focused.

“Nationwide will review, upon the request of notified policyholders, claims where multiple deductibles were charged over the course last years storms. To the extent policyholders feel their claims should be re-examined per the order, Nationwide will re-review these claims.”

Tom Gallagher, Florida’s chief financial officer, applauded the agreement between Nationwide Insurance Company and the Office of Insurance Regulation to correct millions in underpayment of insurance claims resulting from the 2004 hurricanes. Gallagher’s Department of Financial Services compiled the complaint files and hurricane deductible information used in the investigation and audits.

“I congratulate the insurance commissioner for reaching this agreement with Nationwide,” Gallagher said. “The level of complaints my office received from Floridians definitely indicated that consumers were not being treated fairly. This agreement should go a long way toward making the consumers whole.”

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