Citizens Insurance reforms inspection policy

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. - Hundreds of dollars in insurance discounts homeowners received for storm-proofing their windows, doors and roofs are going away.
Citizens Property Insurance ordered thousands of re-inspections, resulting in a massive increase in premiums.   

Customers say the re-inspections were rigged in favor of Citizens and called Insurance Consumer Advocate Robin Westcott.
"We had situations where we actually found there was a change on the inspection form that the inspector did not make," Westcott said.

Westcott reported her findings to Citizens and demanded changes.  Friday the state-run insurer announced customers can request a re-inspection on their dime.

"If you do not agree with those findings, we will pay. You can dispute this," Citizens President Barry Gilway said.

Citizens claims changes in standards, not fraud, are to blame for the disappearing discounts.

The reason a majority of people who've lost their credits this year are now paying more is because standards for roof ties have changed from two nails to three.

If a discount is taken away because of the new standards, now customers can fix the problem and request a second inspection. But that doesn't apply to customers who've already lost discounts.  

"We will continue to work on this process to try to get some insight on how people who are already affected by this program can get redress," Westcott said.

Westcott will meet with Citizens next week to look for ways to help customers wronged in the first round of re-inspections.

Discounts were also being taken away when inspectors weren't able to crawl into the attic to check things out.  Now, if an inspector isn't able to see inside the attic, customers will have a year to get an inspector up there before they lose their roof related discounts. 

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