Irene may be passing South Florida by, but visits from insurance inspectors are causing a storm of trouble for some residents seeing their premiums jump by thousands.
Oakland Park resident Jim Strickland says his insurance premium has increased from $2,800 to more than $6,000.
"They said we didn't meet certain criteria," said Strickland of Citizens Insurance. "Our house hasn’t changed since last year when Citizens came out and did an inspection on the house."
The navy veteran and school teacher was mystified when after all he did to upgrade his Broward home -- new storm windows and doors, a new roof, and all of the proper documentation from those renovations -- his windstorm insurance more than doubled.
"One of [reasons given] specifically was the roof didn’t meet the 2001 hurricane standards," he said, "[but] this roof was replaced in '07 and signed by the city of Oakland Park."
A letter from Citizens came telling Strickland of the increase after his home was inspected by a man working for the insurance company. Strickland says there was no credit given for his hurricane impact improvements or the a new roof.Millions of other homeowners in Florida are getting visits from insurance company teams out to verify that houses are built as strong as residents claim. The companies say they’re out to stop costly fraud, but Jim and others feel that the re-inspections are an excuse to jack up rates.
Veteran independent insurance inspector James Fischer took a look at Strickland's home and gave the opinion that Strickland should get credits for the roof and with hurricane windows and doors.
"All of his windows and doors were permitted," said Fischer, who is of the opinion that new inspections are leaning in favor of insurance companies. "His roof was also permitted in 2007."
Citizens claims that most of Strickland’s hike is actually due to additional coverage for patio and pool areas and the increased value of his home.Residents facing inspections are urged to keep all receipts from contractors, save window and door labels, keep all permits, and secure property from hazards before the inspector arrives.