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Arson insurance fraud is not a new phenomenon, but the crime has become increasingly common across the United States –especially during the 2008 housing crisis. Arson insurance fraud occurs when a home or business owner intentionally sets fire to –or conspires to set fire to—his or her own property in order to obtain insurance money.
According to the Insurance Information Institute, the FBI reported approximately 56,000 arson cases in 2009. The previous year, 2008, saw even more arson crimes at approximately 63,000.
Moreover, approximately 14 percent of all arson cases are insurance motivated case. Insurance companies have cited arson fraud as a severe financial burden, costing the industry almost 800 million dollars in 2009.
If you or someone you know has been accused of arson insurance fraud in Tampa, Florida, obtaining an experienced insurance attorney is imperative. Not only can an arson allegation cause substantial financial hardship when attempting to repair your property, but you could face criminal liability as well.
Our office proudly represents clients throughout the Tampa Bay community in areas like Pasco County, Pinellas County, Manatee County, and Hillsborough County.
Call Germain Law Group at (813) 835-8888 to speak with Attorney Michael B. Germain about the potential outcomes of your case.
After filing a fire damage insurance claim, an insurance company will typically conduct an investigation, testing the viability or validity of an insurance claim. If, after the investigation is complete, the insurance company denies a person’s claim, citing fraud, a policyholder could be left with the full financial burden of repairing his or her home.
Obtaining an experienced arson insurance fraud attorney is imperative. An attorney will be able to present evidence like pictures, witnesses, police reports and testimony from expert witnesses to show a policyholder’s innocence.
If the attorney is successful, then the policyholder may be able to pursue a bad faith claim for the insurance company’s wrongful denial of his or her claim. If the wrongful allegations of arson insurance fraud were against a business owner, then he or she may also be able to recover additional damages from the insurance company. Additional damages may include:
Not only can being accused of arson insurance fraud create financial ruin, but it can also subject an individual to serious criminal liability.
Florida law, specifically, § 806.01 explains that “any person who willfully and unlawfully, or while in the commission of any felony, by fire or explosion, damages or causes a structure to be damaged is guilty of arson.”
Arson is a first-degree felony in Florida, punishable by up to 30 years in Florida State Prison and up to $10,000 fines.
Florida Statute § 806.01 –Visit Online Sunshine, the official website of the Florida Legislature for more information about the criminal consequences of being convicted of arson in the State of Florida, including the useful definitions and exacerbating consequences.
If you or someone you know has filed an insurance claim for fire damage and been denied due to an insurance fraud accusation, contact an experienced insurance attorney as soon as possible.
Our firm has handled multiple types of insurance claims, including claims that were wrongfully denied due to bad faith, homeowner’s insurance claims, and other property damage claims.
At Germain Law Group, we serve clients throughout the Hillsborough County area, in counties like Pasco, Pinellas, Manatee, and Sarasota County, Florida.
Call (813) 835-8888 now for an evaluation of your case and its potential viability.