TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) — If you have an old roof or too many claims, you might expect to get dropped by your insurance company. But a Tampa Bay area woman says she did everything right and her coverage was still canceled.
Jane Pictor still doesn’t understand why she’s received a cancellation letter, and turned to 8 On Your Side Investigator Mahsa Saeidi for help.
The thing is, the cancellation was not about Pictor, but it could leave her without coverage right in the middle of hurricane season.
Pictor lives in a modest community in Palm Harbor with homes dating back several decades. However, some things, like Pictor’s roof, are brand new. She just shelled out nearly $15,000 for it, out of pocket. She also paid for a wind mitigation and a 4-point inspection.
“Trees were trimmed prior to the roof being put on,” she said.
Pictor told 8 On Your Side she’s been in Florida for 20 years and has never had a claim.
“I’m feeling…being taken advantage of,” she said. “I’ve done everything that I know I can do… I’m still getting dropped.”
Pictor’s policy is with Heritage Insurance, one of the top providers in Florida, which insures e 166,847 homes in in the state, according to state data.
But soon, they’ll insure one less. Jane’s coverage ends Oct. 6, according to a non-renewal notice.
But it’s not her fault. The reason is “Other – agent no longer represents Heritage Insurance,” the notice said.
Jane said she wants to stay with Heritage and tried to get another agent.
“And he called back and he said no they won’t allow it,” Pictor recalled. “It’s their policy.”
“It’s always going to be based on what today’s underwriting rules are,” Ronald Assise, a longtime insurance broker in Florida explained. “It’s always going to be based on what today’s underwriting rules are.”
Assise says agents may get dropped if they have too many customers with claims. Once that happens, folks like Pictor could be out of luck.
“You may have qualified in the past but under the new underwriting rules you might not qualify now?” said Mahsa, asking for clarification.
“Right based on the age of your home, the age of your roof,” said Mr. Assise.
Pictor said she doesn’t want to be forced into getting state-backed Citizens Property Insurance. She likes Heritage and she wants to stay put.
“I’m a widower trying to keep the budget in line,” she said. “Have excellent credit and being denied insurance, house insurance, which I have to have in Florida with hurricanes.”
8 On Your Side reached out to multiple people at Heritage. Then, a short time ago, Jane called with the good news. She said Heritage just offered to renew her policy in a one-time exception.
Some industry experts say the agent plays an important role in this situation since they own the policy and it’s up to them to call other insurance companies and make sure the customer isn’t forced into Citizens.
If you have a tip for Mahsa, email MSaeidi@WFLA.com