State-run Citizens Property Insurance Corp. is hiring an outside vendor to scrutinize water-damage repair estimates from contractors, and to directly negotiate lower invoices with those contractors in exchange for a cut of the savings.
The company’s board of governors on Tuesday agreed to a five-year, $1.8 million contract with Fort Myers-based Lynx Services LLC, a third-party claims management firm.
The goal, according to a Citizens document, “is to identify inflated or excessive charges on invoices from contractors that have performed water damage restorations for Citizens’ policyholders and to contest or adjust invoices so it comports with industry standards.”
The contract is the latest salvo in the company’s fight against what it calls claims abuses by shady water restoration contractors and their attorneys, particularly in South Florida. Citizens and other insurers say contractors pressure homeowners to sign over benefits of their claims, then submit inflated claims. If an insurer rejects the claims or fails to pay the full invoice, the companies file suit.