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Old 10-08-2013, 05:09 AM
 
Location: Pinellas Park Florida
210 posts, read 504,056 times
Reputation: 157

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Being an independent home inspector who also does 4 points, wind mits, and roof certifications, imagine my surprise when my colleagues alerted me to the fact that due to a Declaratory statement by the DBPR, Insurance providers can offer kickbacks to insurance agents who use their service. Most likely, this is the reason Citizens and others are only recommending 3 Companies to do their insurance Inspections.

Just wondering what people thought of this. Is this ethical even though it is legal.

BTW

There have been reports that insurance co's will only accept 4 points and windmits by the big 3. This is not true. A Fl. licensed Home Inspector, by law is allowed to submit them and the insurance Co. has to accept them. Please remember this when you need an insurance inspection.
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Old 10-08-2013, 05:22 AM
 
Location: Myrtle Beach
3,378 posts, read 7,874,695 times
Reputation: 2926
Insurance agents/brokers get paid commission by insurance companies. It is how they make their money. Some insurance companies offer better compensation than others. It is illegal for an Insurance Broker to steer you to a company that is not in your best interest. Insurance Agents work for only one insurance company.
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Old 10-08-2013, 06:48 AM
 
Location: Pinellas Park Florida
210 posts, read 504,056 times
Reputation: 157
You may choose any qualified inspector to perform your wind mitigation inspection. As an additional service to our policyholders and insurance consumers, however, Citizens has endorsed three highly qualified inspection companies.

In turn these companies or any other company including me, are allowed to curry favor for the preferred inspection business. Is this ethical...should this be allowed....
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Old 10-08-2013, 06:50 AM
 
Location: Spring Hill, Florida
3,012 posts, read 4,840,310 times
Reputation: 3274
Quote:
Originally Posted by FloridaKash View Post
Insurance agents/brokers get paid commission by insurance companies. It is how they make their money. Some insurance companies offer better compensation than others. It is illegal for an Insurance Broker to steer you to a company that is not in your best interest. Insurance Agents work for only one insurance company.
I believe this is about home inspectors, not insurance agents.

Insurance companies will do as much as they can get away with until a law stops them, rather until they get caught breaking a law.
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Old 10-08-2013, 10:20 AM
 
Location: Myrtle Beach
3,378 posts, read 7,874,695 times
Reputation: 2926
Quote:
Originally Posted by HWTechGuy View Post
I believe this is about home inspectors, not insurance agents.

Insurance companies will do as much as they can get away with until a law stops them, rather until they get caught breaking a law.
This is true. I worked in the industry for 10 years. Its amazing what they are able to get away with. And what they can't get away with they typically tie up in court for years.
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Old 10-11-2013, 11:27 PM
 
Location: Dallas/Ft. Worth, TX
1,983 posts, read 6,027,028 times
Reputation: 3317
Quote:
Originally Posted by thession View Post
Being an independent home inspector who also does 4 points, wind mits, and roof certifications, imagine my surprise when my colleagues alerted me to the fact that due to a Declaratory statement by the DBPR, Insurance providers can offer kickbacks to insurance agents who use their service. Most likely, this is the reason Citizens and others are only recommending 3 Companies to do their insurance Inspections.

Just wondering what people thought of this. Is this ethical even though it is legal.

BTW

There have been reports that insurance co's will only accept 4 points and windmits by the big 3. This is not true. A Fl. licensed Home Inspector, by law is allowed to submit them and the insurance Co. has to accept them. Please remember this when you need an insurance inspection.
It is unfortunate that referral fees and indirect compensation arrangements are a way of business these days. This is not an issue limited only to one industry and Home Inspectors themselves have many different referral fee and indirect compensation programs they participate in as well as methods they use to "curry favor" from those who can send them work. You have stated that this is not illegal and your question of is it ethical really is relative. Merriam-Webster defines ethical as:

Quote:
: involving questions of right and wrong behavior : relating to ethics
: following accepted rules of behavior : morally right and good
Ethics are not something that can be legislated and must come from a consensus of people with good moral character. The problem is when money talks, regardless of the industry or profession, morality goes out the window!

So my questions would be then how would this differ from any other industry's or profession's methods of obtaining referral fees and indirect compensation programs? Also if our own profession is doing essentially the same actions how can we then judge another profession's actions? There is a proverb that states "Those who live in glass houses should not throw stones". Would it not be better that we concentrate on cleaning our own professions before we concern ourselves with some one else profession? By doing so would that not display good ethical and moral behavior?
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Old 10-12-2013, 05:41 AM
 
Location: Pinellas Park Florida
210 posts, read 504,056 times
Reputation: 157
I'm not convinced it's solely home inspector problem.

How about the consumer paying inflated prices for the kickback...I'm hearing $150.00 for a wind mitigation inspection from these 3, while Home Inspectors are in the $75.00 $100.00 range. Anybody had any experience with any of the 3 companies.
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Old 10-12-2013, 09:25 AM
 
Location: Dallas/Ft. Worth, TX
1,983 posts, read 6,027,028 times
Reputation: 3317
Quote:
Originally Posted by thession View Post
Being an independent home inspector who also does 4 points, wind mits, and roof certifications, imagine my surprise when my colleagues alerted me to the fact that due to a Declaratory statement by the DBPR, Insurance providers can offer kickbacks to insurance agents who use their service. Most likely, this is the reason Citizens and others are only recommending 3 Companies to do their insurance Inspections.

Just wondering what people thought of this. Is this ethical even though it is legal.

BTW

There have been reports that insurance co's will only accept 4 points and windmits by the big 3. This is not true. A Fl. licensed Home Inspector, by law is allowed to submit them and the insurance Co. has to accept them. Please remember this when you need an insurance inspection.
Quote:
Originally Posted by thession View Post
I'm not convinced it's solely home inspector problem.

How about the consumer paying inflated prices for the kickback...I'm hearing $150.00 for a wind mitigation inspection from these 3, while Home Inspectors are in the $75.00 $100.00 range. Anybody had any experience with any of the 3 companies.
So according to Citizens Insurance even they state that a person applying for insurance can use any qualified Inspector/Company to perform this inspection. All they are doing is providing the names of 3 companies that are not only trained but also have passed criminal background checks and who apparently take annual recurring/refresher training for this type of inspection. I would expect then that the State of Florida does not make these two additional specifications a requirement for anyone who does become certified to perform these type inspections? These three companies bear additional costs to take this annual training and have the background checks and maintain those current. As a result they should be expected to provide a criminally safe environment for Citizen's customers and a better knowledge of what they are doing as opposed to a Home Inspector whose criminal history might not be known and who takes a course one time to become certified and does not maintain current knowledge? In other words their cost of doing business is higher than a typical Home Inspector and it is reflected in their price.

It sounds as if this is more of an issue of Home Inspectors unhappy they are losing this ancillary service and its revenue rather than a case of unethical behavior from an insurance provider? There is also the other end of the spectrum on pricing and I have seen Florida Home Inspectors giving these inspections away to induce the consumers into using their services for the whole home inspection. Is that unethical as well?
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Old 10-13-2013, 07:26 AM
 
Location: Pinellas Park Florida
210 posts, read 504,056 times
Reputation: 157
Quote:
Originally Posted by escanlan View Post
So according to Citizens Insurance even they state that a person applying for insurance can use any qualified Inspector/Company to perform this inspection. All they are doing is providing the names of 3 companies that are not only trained but also have passed criminal background checks and who apparently take annual recurring/refresher training for this type of inspection.

Continuing education is a no brainer...In fact Home Inspectors are the only ones that by Law has to have continuing ed or we can't do them.

Criminal background checks were performed at licensing. Must we submit them yearly.



I would expect then that the State of Florida does not make these two additional specifications a requirement for anyone who does become certified to perform these type inspections? These three companies bear additional costs to take this annual training and have the background checks and maintain those current. As a result they should be expected to provide a criminally safe environment for Citizen's customers and a better knowledge of what they are doing as opposed to a Home Inspector whose criminal history might not be known and who takes a course one time to become certified and does not maintain current knowledge?

In other words their cost of doing business is higher than a typical Home Inspector and it is reflected in their price.

ROTFLMAO

It sounds as if this is more of an issue of Home Inspectors unhappy they are losing this ancillary service and its revenue rather than a case of unethical behavior from an insurance provider? There is also the other end of the spectrum on pricing and I have seen Florida Home Inspectors giving these inspections away to induce the consumers into using their services for the whole home inspection. Is that unethical as well?
I think this goes way beyond the bottle of wine at Christmas time.

Wind mits and 4 points go hand in hand with a home inspection. Some charge extra, some provide them for free. Me, I include Wind mits and 4 points in the price of the home inspection. Very helpful to the buyer.
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Old 10-13-2013, 10:31 AM
 
Location: Dallas/Ft. Worth, TX
1,983 posts, read 6,027,028 times
Reputation: 3317
Quote:
Quote:
Originally Posted by escanlan View Post
So according to Citizens Insurance even they state that a person applying for insurance can use any qualified Inspector/Company to perform this inspection. All they are doing is providing the names of 3 companies that are not only trained but also have passed criminal background checks and who apparently take annual recurring/refresher training for this type of inspection.

Continuing education is a no brainer...In fact Home Inspectors are the only ones that by Law has to have continuing ed or we can't do them.

Criminal background checks were performed at licensing. Must we submit them yearly.


I would expect then that the State of Florida does not make these two additional specifications a requirement for anyone who does become certified to perform these type inspections? These three companies bear additional costs to take this annual training and have the background checks and maintain those current. As a result they should be expected to provide a criminally safe environment for Citizen's customers and a better knowledge of what they are doing as opposed to a Home Inspector whose criminal history might not be known and who takes a course one time to become certified and does not maintain current knowledge?

In other words their cost of doing business is higher than a typical Home Inspector and it is reflected in their price.

ROTFLMAO

It sounds as if this is more of an issue of Home Inspectors unhappy they are losing this ancillary service and its revenue rather than a case of unethical behavior from an insurance provider? There is also the other end of the spectrum on pricing and I have seen Florida Home Inspectors giving these inspections away to induce the consumers into using their services for the whole home inspection. Is that unethical as well?
Quote:
Originally Posted by thession View Post
I think this goes way beyond the bottle of wine at Christmas time.

Wind mits and 4 points go hand in hand with a home inspection. Some charge extra, some provide them for free. Me, I include Wind mits and 4 points in the price of the home inspection. Very helpful to the buyer.
Let me see if I understand this then? According to the DBPR Rules For Inspectors a Home Inspector is only required to have 14 hours total of continuing education for the two year period before they renew their license (See Here). Of that 14 hours ONLY two of those hours must relate to this Hurricane Mitigation program which is the bases for your original post. Also according to the State Statute controlling the Hurricane Mitigation inspection program (which can be found here) Home Inspectors are initially only required to have 3 hours of training and a basic test to be qualified to perform these. So the State DBPR which regulates Home Inspectors have actually conceded training hours from the home inspection licensing program to allow Home Inspectors to not have to take an extra two hours every two years if they wanted to perform this Hurricane Mitigation inspection (original was 14 hours for Home Inspector renewal and now is 12 hours plus 2 more for the Hurricane Mitigation program). So in essence Home Inspectors are being required to take the Hurricane Mitigation program two hours worth of training anyhow as part of their Home Inspection renewal education requirements.

Also in the Hurricane Mitigation program Statute noted above there is no requirement for the other qualified persons (Engineers, licensed contractors, etc.) to perform any required annual training or have criminal background checks for this program and yet according to Citizens insurance (click on the paragraph to link to the Citizen's site):

In addition to meeting the Florida Office of Insurance Regulation's minimum licensing standards, Citizens-endorsed inspectors have passed criminal background checks, and Citizens' three endorsed inspection companies provide, and their inspectors are required to attend, annual industry training courses.

So Citizens has chosen three companies that also met the Home Inspector's licensing requirements with respect to criminal background checks and annual training. These are actions they are not required to do and yet it is something they spend the money on to meet Citizen's preferences. In other words they have added fees that the Home Inspector is already doing for their Home Inspection license. Also we do not know how many hours of training these three companies require their employees to perform annually? Are they much more than 2 hours a year that the Home Inspector is performing but only performing anyhow to renew their license?

So to point 1 above where you "ROFLMAO" these companies are indeed incurring additional expenses above what the Home Inspector incurs to offer this Hurricane Mitigation inspection service.

Just as a side note the Hurricane Mitigation program Statute noted above also states this:

Quote:
[SIZE=-1]An insurer shall accept as valid a uniform mitigation verification form signed by the following authorized mitigation inspectors:

.....

[/SIZE]

[SIZE=-1][SIZE=-1](b) An insurer may, but is not required to, accept a form from any other person possessing qualifications and experience acceptable to the insurer.
[/SIZE]
[/SIZE]
According to the Citizens insurance site they have not exercised their right to exclude anyone that has been qualified under the Hurricane Mitigation Statute but only offer their customers the names of three firms they feel are more qualified and meet their requirements. But again they are not excluding any of the other potential Inspectors.

To respond to your question on criminal background checks of:

Criminal background checks were performed at licensing. Must we submit them yearly.

No in fact I do not believe that the licensee should have to resubmit them annually. I do however believe that the licensing agency should be performing annual basic background checks with their own State departments that do maintain criminal records! I believe that all of the State licensing agencies should be doing this to protect consumers!! Instead the licensing agencies only accept the renewal applications with a sworn statement by the applicant that they have not run afoul of the law and take their word for it unless someone, usually a consumer after the consumer has been wronged, brings it to their attention. If you stop and think about it the process is so easy and can be seen whenever a person is stopped by local Law Enforcement who might quickly run a check on a person to see if they have any warrants on them or do have a criminal history. Local LEO can quickly do this with on board computer equipment demonstrating it is highly feasible. If you would like to see how easy it is for a licensee to lie to a State licensing agency you can review the Texas enforcement actions on the Texas Real Estate Commission WEB site. You will find more than enough examples where licensees have lied on renewal applications and eventually been caught. But how many times has that licensee who lied harmed a consumer before they were caught?

In your original post you are stating that these Big 3 are paying kickbacks to Citizens for the business and that DBPR has approved of this with a "Declaratory statement". It would help your original post and others reading this if you posted a link to this.

[SIZE=-1][SIZE=-1][/SIZE]

[/SIZE]
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