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Heritage Insurance 'striving to improve' after fine for failures to policyholders

'Heritage wants to be a valued partner for our policyholders in their time of need in the state of Florida,' CEO Ernie Garateix says
Posted at 6:48 PM, May 10, 2024
and last updated 2024-05-10 18:48:11-04

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. — The Florida Office of Insurance Regulation has leveled a $1 million fine on Heritage Insurance, citing several failures to policyholders in the aftermath of Hurricane Ian.

In a consent order, OIR listed nine instances, including failure to pay or deny a claim within 90 days after notice of an initial claim.

Paul Handerhan Federal Association for Insurance Reform May 2024 .png
Paul Handerhan, of the Federal Association for Insurance Reform, says Heritage Insurance failed to hire adjusters with proper licenses.

"In Heritage's case, a bunch of the adjusters they contracted for right after Hurricane Ian came in, " Paul Handerhan, of the Federal Association for Insurance Reform, said. "But those folks did not have the experience that they said they were going to have."

Heritage Insurance CEO Ernie Garateix said in a statement that the insurer, based in Tampa, cooperated with the investigation and has already made improvements to service.

Real Estate News

'This sends a very strong message:' Homeowners insurance company fined $1M

Jessica Bruno
4:20 PM, May 10, 2024

"Our message to our policyholders is simple. We are committed to excellence and will never stop striving to improve. Heritage wants to be a valued partner for our policyholders in their time of need in the state of Florida," Garateix said.

Many also believe the state is trying to send a message to insurers as it also tries to navigate out of an insurance crisis that has gripped the state the last couple of years.

Heritage Insurance CEO Ernie Garateix statement May 2024.png
Heritage Insurance CEO Ernie Garateix says the insurer has already made improvements to service.

"If you don't do a good job, this is potentially what you're going to be facing," Handerhan said.

If you have a question or comment on homeowners insurance, email me at matt.sczesny@wptv.com