Insurance Company Denied Legitimate Hurricane Irma Claims – InsuranceNewsNet


TAMPA, Florida. (WFLA) — Five years ago, Hurricane Irma tore through parts of the Tampa Bay Region. Now, a lawsuit alleges, following the storm, an insurer denied legitimate claims, leaving Florida high and dry owners.

The lawsuit claims the property insurer, United Property & Casualty Insurance Company (United P&C), engaged in racketeering. United P&C is one of the largest state property insurance companies.


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According to the civil lawsuit that was filed in the United States District Court for the Intermediate District of Florida, United P&C allegedly underpaid or outright denied at least 200 legitimate claims in the aftermath of Hurricane Irma. General contractor, SFR services, filed a lawsuit against United P&C in January, accusing the insurer of committing multiple acts of fraud.

“Being a former prosecutor, my job is to collect evidence”, home insurance lawyer John Tolley, Esq. said.

Tolley says he represents the affected homeowners and the evidence he collected was used to bring the lawsuit.

“UPC was telling its adjusters, no matter what, they were going to deny all claims, whether it was a valid claim or not,” Tolley said.

“What are you basing it on? 8 On your side Investigator Mahsa Saidi asked. He replied: “We collected emails, texts, voicemails.”

Tolley calls a text message the smoking gun in the case. He was allegedly sent by a co-conspirator from the insurance company.

In the text, a director of a fitting company appears to be asking field crews to say they “cannot determine cause of loss” on late-reported Irma claims.

“They don’t want us to put this in an email,” the alleged text read in part. The text message, which is mentioned in the lawsuit, goes on to state that “they no longer want you to give them any estimate for the damages they are going to do to all.”

In a statement, a lawyer for United P&C said the lawsuit was unfounded.

“The UPC has no comment at this time beyond denying the allegations,” the attorney said. Michael Monteverde, Esq. said.

Meanwhile, United P&C asked regulators last month to approve its plan to withdraw from several states, including Florida.

“Now they’ve completely bailed out Florida claiming reinsurance is the problem,” Tolley said.

Tolley calls Florida Financial director Jimmy Patronis.

“He created all these task forces to sue roofers and contractors, but at no point are they suing insurance companies,” Tolley said. “They can walk away from the state of Florida – no harm, no fault.”

The Patronis office responded in a statement, saying the CFO pursues fraud wherever he finds it.

“Protect Florida insured is our number one goal. Whether it’s roofers, contractors or insurers, the Investigative and Forensic Services Division will tackle bad actors if there is a credible complaint to act on. The Department Takes Fraud Seriously and Encourages the Public to Contact Insurance Fraud Tip line at 1-800-378-0445.

Also, let’s not forget that insurance companies have given up florida market due to the difficult legal environment. For instance, Mr. Tolley it alone has filed 135 lawsuits against insurance companies in the past two years, and those costs are passed on to policyholders through premium hikes. The CFO thinks that, while there are good actors, there are also bad insurers, bad contractors and bad lawyers who wreak havoc on the system.”

Devin Galettecommunication director

United P&C filed a motion to dismiss the lawsuit.

If you have a tip for Investigator Mahsa Saidisend an email to [email protected]


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