Florida officials warn of scammers in Hurricane Ian’s wake

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Florida officials warn of scammers in Hurricane Ian's wake

Florida officials are warning shellshocked homeowners to be wary of insurance scammers in the wake of Hurricane Ian’s destruction.

Jimmy Patronis, Florida’s chief financial officer, said he expects opportunistic crooks to go “door to door” while attempting to have storm victims sign over the rights to their insurance claims.

Patronis told Newsmax that “parasites” descend on impacted areas in the wake of natural disasters.

“They will go door to door canvassing neighborhoods that they see the damage,” Patronis said. “And they will sign over their claims to contractors, or they will have unscrupulous public adjustors.”

Involving third parties, Patronis said, complicates the recovery process and damages the ability of homeowners to be “made whole faster.”

He noted that bad actors thrive in the post-hurricane fog — and that Floridians should be vigilant.

A picture of Florida Chief Financial Officer Jimmy Patronis.
Florida chief financial officer Jimmy Patronis said he expects scammers will attempt to have Hurricane Ian victims sign over the rights to their insurance claims.
REUTERS
A picture of a man walking through his flooded neighborhood in the aftermath of Hurricane Ian.
A Florida resident walked through his neighborhood following Hurricane Ian.

A picture of people outside a Home Depot for a new supply of generators and plywood in advance of Hurricane Ian in Fort Myers.
Patronis said involving third parties can complicate the recovery process and damages homeowners’ ability to be “made whole faster.”

“Unfortunately, during times like this, they will show up in droves,” he said.

The Sunshine State’s insurance industry was already reeling prior to Hurricane Ian’s rampage, with dozens of operators pulling out of the state.

The storm’s onslaught, observers fear, will only worsen the crisis.

A picture of washed-up and wrecked boats in the wake of Hurricane Ian.
Florida’s insurance industry was already reeling prior to Hurricane Ian making landfall.

A picture of washed-up and wrecked boats in the wake of Hurricane Ian.
There are currently 30 Florida insurers on a state watch list due to financial instability.

The sector’s demise has caused Sunshine State insurance rates to spike and forced an increasing number of homeowners to rely on a state owner-operator to secure a policy.

Regulatory laxity in Florida’s insurance industry has left it ravaged by scams and overrun with dubious claims.

There are currently 30 Florida insurers on a state watch list due to financial instability.

With billions in claims expected in the wake of Ian’s assault, many fear the sector will weaken further.

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