Monday, March 14, 2005

'Follow the Law'

Robert M. Heath has an op-ed piece in today's News Journal that bristles with outrage at the earlier, self-serving Viewpoint article written by Bob Ricker, the head of Citizens Property Insurance Co.

Heath identifies himself as an attorney who "has spent the better part of the last five months assisting clients whose homes were destroyed by Hurricane Ivan... ." He goes on --
"Typically, Ricker echoes the company line and repeats what his adjusters have told these devastated families: 'Sorry, ma'am, your damage was caused by flood and we don't cover flood.' His statement that 'at Citizens ... we are motivated to pay legitimate claims' is not only hypocritical but untrue.

The Florida Valued Policy Law, section 627.702, Florida Statutes (2003), says that 'in the event of the total loss of any building ... located in this state and insured by any insurer as to a covered peril ... the insurer's liability, if any, under the policy for such total loss shall be in the amount of money for which the property was so insured ... '

This statute dates back to at least 1959 and is a part of every windstorm insurance policy in Florida, including those issued by Citizens. In addition, the case of Mierzwa v. Florida Windstorm Underwriting Association, to which Ricker refers, clearly states that the meaning of the Valued Policy Law is 'simple and straightforward.'

The statute requires that the building be insured as to a covered peril and that it be a total loss. If these two facts are true, then the Valued Policy Law requires that the insurance company pay its policyholder the full value of the policy."
There's more. Follow this link.

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