MyFloridaCFO, March 29, 2023
Maitland, Fla. – Today, Florida Chief Financial Officer (CFO) Jimmy Patronis addressed the Citizens Property Insurance Corp. Board of Governor’s meeting. At the meeting, the CFO announced he is designating Florida’s Insurance Consumer Advocate Tasha Carter as the Department’s Hurricane Ian Chief Recovery Director to help streamline Hurricane Ian claims. He also announced the Department will hold another insurance village in Southwest Florida in mid-April.
CFO Jimmy Patronis said, “It’s no secret there’s been some challenges in Florida’s insurance market. Thanks to Governor DeSantis’ leadership, there have been some great reforms that are going to put the market on a better footing. From the December Special Session, Citizens is going to realize $600 million in annualized savings. That’s cash not going into the hands of AOBs or attorneys’ fees. Tallahassee has done its job, but we can’t lose sight of policyholders who need our help. That’s why my agency has been working overtime to help policyholders.”
Immediately following Hurricane Ian, the CFO deployed Disaster Fraud Action Strike Teams (DFAST), which is made of law enforcement officers to impacted areas. These teams went door-to-door educating the public about fraud so policyholders can avoid being defrauded. These anti-fraud teams consisted of 43 fraud detectives, and other support personnel, deployed to help with Hurricane Ian relief efforts. DFAST engaged more than 7,700 citizens, agencies, and businesses following Hurricane Ian. Additionally, the Department of Financial Services’ (DFS) Division of Consumer Services deployed to Disaster Recovery Centers following Ian to help policyholders with initial payments. The Department also setup an Insurance Village in January, which recovered $5.4 million for over 1,000 policyholders.
The CFO added, “We’re not done helping policyholders. I’m happy to announce that we’ll be back in Southwest Florida mid-April for another Insurance Village. We’ll keep coming down as long as demand is there. I’m also announcing this morning that I’ll be designating Florida’s Insurance Consumer Advocate Tasha Carter as the Department’s Hurricane Ian Chief Recovery Director. My agency regulates insurance agents, adjusters, we help consumers, and we prosecute insurance fraud. Sometimes we need to streamline processes to help with claims or discover patterns of fraud and abuse. Tasha once ran our Consumer Services Division, so she knows the mechanics on how our agency resolves claims. Wherever we see a squeaky wheel, when it comes to Ian claims, we want to short circuit the solution. I want her empowered to go directly to leaders at insurance companies and see if we can shorten timelines. I’ve also asked her to work with the insurers to develop a system where we’ve got liaisons with the carriers.”
Insurance Consumer Advocate Tasha Carter said, “My priority has always been and will continue to be finding consumer-focused solutions in the industry and improving the insurance claims process for consumers. A hurricane is one of the most disastrous, impactful events a Floridian can go through and that experience should not be exasperated by delays in resolving their insurance claim. I thank CFO Patronis for the additional authority to add to my existing advocacy processes. Together, we will ensure insurance consumers receive what they’re entitled to and that their claims are resolved fairly and timely.”