Make us your home page
Instagram

Citizens Insurance to open up bidding for home reinspections

Under growing pressure, Citizens Property Insurance's board said Monday that it will seek competitive bids for its controversial home reinspection program following a pilot project now under way.

The decision is a reversal of the board's vote in late October, when it handed an emergency $60 million contract to administer the program to Inspection Depot Inc., a Jacksonville software company.

Citizens' staff claimed it did not have time to seek bids for the work, which involves verifying that policyholders qualify for wind-mitigation discounts. About 400,000 homeowners currently receive the discounts, costing Citizens about $740 million a year in premiums.

Though Citizens' staffers insisted that most of the emergency contract's funds would be funneled to field inspectors — not Inspection Depot — the action triggered a lawsuit from a Georgia software firm and protests from other companies shut out of consideration.

Even Allan Katz, a Citizens board member who questioned the deal, said the arrangement gave Inspection Depot "huge economic power."

Three months after the vote, Florida's chief financial officer, Alex Sink, chimed in with a letter to Citizens' chairman, James Malone, on Saturday, urging a competitive bid. On Monday, the board complied.

Though he dismissed the issue as a "brouhaha," Malone said, "We're grateful to Alex Sink's office for reminding us of our responsibility on two fronts: to do the quotation as outlined and the urgency of getting it done."

Inspection Depot's contract will now be limited to managing a short-term inspection project that could run through midyear. About 500 Citizens policyholders have already received letters notifying them of the effort. Inspection Depot will receive $25 per inspection from Citizens to administer the program, including gathering and analyzing the data.

Inspection companies hired to do the reinspections will receive $95 per home. Although Inspection Depot has an affiliate that performs inspections, it will be limited to a maximum of 750 inspections, with the rest of the work going to unrelated companies.

By April, Citizens will open bidding on managing the reinspection of the remainder of its policies that qualify for wind-mitigation discounts. That contract will take effect early this year and could last up to two years.

Referring to Citizens' efforts to recoup wind-mitigation discounts that prove, upon reinspection, to be fraudulent, Malone said, "Make no mistake that this is something that is being pursued with all appropriate speed and dispatch."

Kris Hundley can be reached at khundley@sptimes.com or (727) 892-2996.

Citizens Insurance to open up bidding for home reinspections 01/25/10 [Last modified: Monday, January 25, 2010 8:27pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Superior Uniform acquires Los Angeles-based PublicIdentity

    Corporate

    SEMINOLE — A subsidiary of Seminole-based Superior Uniform Group has acquired Los Angeles-based branded merchandise company PublicIdentity Inc.

    Superior Uniform Group CEO Michael Benstock
[Courtesy of Superior Uniform Group]
  2. FBI warns of spreading W-2 email theft scheme

    Personal Finance

    The IRS is warning businesses about a sharp increase in email phishing scams involving employees' W-2 forms — scams that can put staffers' Social Security numbers and other critical information in the hands of thieves.

    The IRS is warning businesses about a sharp increase in email phishing scams involving employees' W-2 forms.
[McClatchy DC/TNS file photo]
  3. Walmart expands grocery delivery service in Florida markets

    Retail

    TAMPA — Walmart is formally launching its grocery delivery service in Tampa, the company announced Monday, as it expands its delivery test into Orlando and Dallas. Five locations around Tampa are offering delivery for online grocery orders.

    Walmart is expanding its grocery delivery to Tampa, the company announced Monday. | [Times file photo]
  4. Marina at Hudson Beach poised to become 24-unit condominium-hotel

    Business

    HUDSON — One of the mainstay businesses at Hudson Beach is poised for redevelopment into a 24-unit condominium-hotel.

    The owners of Skeleton Key Marina in Hudson have filed preliminary plans with Pasco County to redevelop the site into a 24-unit condominium-hotel.
  5. Have your say Tampa Bay on the region's future transit options

    Mass Transit

    TAMPA — It's time, yet again, for Tampa Bay residents to tell officials what kind of transit options they want for their region.

    The Cross-Bay Ferry docks at the Tampa Convention Center on its maiden voyage on Nov. 1, 2016. A regional premium transit study will determine whether a ferry, or other options such as express buses or light rail, would be a good addition to Tampa Bay. [SCOTT KEELER  |  Times]