Florida Workshop to Review New Mitigation Credit Inspection Form

September 21, 2010

Florida insurance officials are holding a public workshop to review the form used by inspectors to document eligibility for wind mitigation discounts for personal residential property tomorrow, Wed., Sept. 22, 2010.

During the workshop, the Florida Office of Insurance Regulation will concentrate first on changes in the form that are required to be made because of a change in Florida law that authorizes only certain licensees to conduct inspections and sign the form.

Additionally, regulators say they will review changes that may need to be made in the future to further clarify the requirements for insurance companies to give wind mitigation discounts and to make certain that inspectors and policyholders are aware of the actions that they can take to obtain discounts.

The state adopted a new mitigation form earlier this year after a series of hearings. The new mitigation form requires photographs, signatures, and other improvements designed to prevent fraud and document eligibility for discounts as clearly as possible.

Florida’s mitigation initiatives were implemented several years ago in an effort to encourage homeowners to install storm shutters and take other steps to harden their homes against storms, using insurance premium discounts as an incentive. However, the program has come under scrutiny for alleged widespread fraud in the inspections. Citizens Insurance had to launch a re-inspection program to verify more than $700 million in credits.

A white paper by the Florida Association of Insurance Agents (FAIA) questioned the inspections by Citizens and private insurers in the granting of mitigation credits to homeowners. FAIA said its research revealed that re-inspections found that as many as 55 to 80 percent of inspections may have errors.

Applied Research Associates, Inc. (ARA) is scheduled to deliver a presentation regarding wind mitigation discounts at the workshop. Contractors, engineers, architects, and other professionals who are engaged in the business of conducting wind mitigation inspections are also expected to participate in the workshop.

The workshop will begin at 9:30 a.m. in Room 116 in the Larson Building in Tallahassee.

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