NEW PORT RICHEY, Florida - It's a topic that has people fired up and opinionated -- Citizens Insurance's handling of recent premiums.
There's been a recent outcry from Citizens Insurance customers who claim they've been lied to in the past. Those customers say they were promised big discounts through the mitigation program.
Basically, if they fortified their homes, they'd get the discount. But, the company took those credits back.
In the beginning, it was supposed to be a program encouraging homeowners to make large investments to fortify their houses against wind and storm damage. In return, the customers were promised a discount on their Citizens Insurance premiums. Instead, customers claimed they have lost $137 million in mitigation discounts, something State Senator Mike Fasano called disappointing.
Fasano talked about the issue on Saturday, demanding justice and change from Citizens. "I've had inspectors email me and call me and tell me, 'Mike, we're inspecting homes. We're finding nothing wrong with these homes. We believe the discount should stay in place.' But, what happens, when their report gets back to Citizens, and the underwriters within Citizens, they somehow find a way. They find a way to take the discount from the homeowner," he told 10 News.
Fasano is now calling upon Citizens to do the right thing and inspect those homes once again.
Citizens said it has decided to take a closer look at its home reinspection program and "restructure" it.
Fasano added, "I think the reinspections done on 100,000+ homes are questionable. Citizens is now coming to the realization to take another look at reinspection."
While he is pleased that Citizens is listening, Fasano admitted he is still concerned, since much of the damage has already been done.
He's upset to hear that so many people spent so much money to mitigate their homes against damage, only to find that the promised credits were then taken back after home inspections were already performed.
Fasano encouraged homeowners to appeal. "So, I would encourage anyone, any of your viewers that has had that reinspection by citizens, and the discount has been taken away by Citizens, to appeal that decision," he said. "They can do that by filing an appeal with their agent or filling through Citizens directly with the paperwork to file the appeal."
So far, nearly 200,000 homeowners lost discounts because of the reinspection program.