Florida’s Citizens Property Insurance might not be missing any mail or checks from customers after all, although the insurer can’t be 100 percent certain.
Insurance Journal and other media reported yesterday that the state-backed property insurer could be missing as much as a week’s worth of mail. However, that’s not the case, both Citizens and the U.S. Postal Service (USPS) confirm.
The concern arose after the USPS informed Citizens on June 29 that someone had completed a fraudulent change of address form for Citizens on June 27. Another fraudulent form was also submitted over the Internet.
But according to USPS, the mail forwarding never happened because by July 1 Citizens had responded to a USPS request for confirmation of the change. Since Citizens did not confirm the address change, the mail forwarding request was immediately canceled and “there is no evidence at this time to suggest that any mail was forwarded,” according to the USPS.
According to Christine Ashburn, spokesperson for Citizens, the volume of mail at Citizens seemed normal for the period under question. However, since the USPS has been unable to give the company a “100 percent guarantee” that no mail was fraudulently forwarded, Citizens is erring on the side of caution and urging customers to verify that their checks were properly received and cashed by Citizens.
The mail systems worked as they are supposed to, according to the USPS.
“The systems designed to protect U.S. Postal Service customers did their job. Reporting throughout the state has claimed that as many as 1 million policy holders could have been affected. This is simply NOT true,” responded Joseph Breckenridge, communications director with USPS, after media reports raised the prospect of lots of diverted mail. “In fact, there is no evidence whatever to suggest that this fraudulent change of address order caused any mail whatever to be forwarded. ”
The Post Office also said that the fraudulent forwarding address, which is located in an apartment complex, has not received any of Citizens’ mail.
“The quantity of mail received by a major firm like Citizens is very great. We’re talking about thousands upon thousands of pieces of mail every day. The operations of firms like Citizens are on such a scale that such an irregularity would be immediately obvious,” said Breckenridge.
Despite the assurances form the USPS, Citizens is still urging customers who mailed a payment between June 14 through June 28 that has not been cashed to call Citizens Customer Care at 888.685.1555 to confirm that Citizens received their check.
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