Condominium Associations Urged: Use Fla. Mediation Program to Settle Hurricane Claim Disputes

December 1, 2005

A mediation program to help condominium associations resolve disputes with their insurance companies over hurricane claims has been suggested by Tom Gallagher, Florida CFO.

Gallagher said the mediation program, established for homeowners after the 2004 storms, has successfully helped more than 11,000 storm victims reach satisfactory settlements on their hurricane claims.

“Many condominium communities in our state have not yet started to rebuild because they are struggling with their insurance companies to get their claims paid,” said Gallagher, who oversees the Department of Financial Services. “My goal is to offer them a no-cost alternative to resolving their claims and help them successfully recover from catastrophic losses.”

The mediation program offers a dispute resolution process for condominium associations and other commercial residential properties to resolve hurricane claims prior to pursuing other options such as going to court. The mediations are free of charge and using the program does not preclude an association’s right to take the dispute to court or to invoke the policy appraisal clause.

When the department receives a request for mediation the insurance company is informed it has 21 days to settle the claim, or it will have to appear at mediation with the policyholder or its legal representative. Mediation meetings will be facilitated by Supreme Court-certified mediators provided through the Collins Center for Public Policy.

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