Dr. Gorm and Margaret Hansen

Dr Gorm and Margaret Hansen own an upscale single family home in Lighthouse Point, Florida. On October 24, 2005 it sustained damaged from Hurricane Wilma. In January of 2006 Citizens Property Insurance offered $19,902.60 and applied a deductible of $17,050, resulting in a net offer of $2,850.60. This offer infuriated the insured and after trying to negotiate with the carrier for 5 months, called us in June. Up to this point the carrier used every possible delay tactic to wear down the insured.

 We thought it was interesting that the carrier’s appraiser “found more money to pay” when he submitted an offer just 45 days after our services were engaged. The carrier’s appraiser increased the original offer from $2,850.60 to $47,564.69 on July 28, 2006. Negotiations lumbered on and became somewhat combative to the point where neither side could agree on a neutral umpire. Their delay tactics forced us to petition the courts to name a neutral umpire.

At the final hearing which lasted several hours. The carrier’s appraiser increased his offer four times by increments of approximately $20,000 until he reached $100,000. We believe the carrier’s appraiser knew the claim was over $100,000 in real damages but was playing a game trying to see if we would settle for a lesser amount. On August 17, 2006 the court ordered umpire issued an award of $111,359.79. We believed the damages had an additional amount valued at 125K and we elected to not sign the award. Here’s the most interesting case note, the appraiser for the carrier actually signed the award. We wondered why he was playing games with what we term "offensive low-ball" offers since his involvement

Even after the award was made the carrier demonstrated its disdain for the insured. During the claim process Ms. Hansen died. The carrier was notified of this fact prior to issuance of the award with a certified letter which was accompanied by a death certificate. By ignoring this fact and keeping Ms. Hansen’s name on the award check, the Insurance Company was able to further delay payment because the check was non-negotiable. The insured’s attorney had to send numerous documents and discussions were required to resolve the issue. The carrier successfully delayed payment for another 56 days.



 

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