Action 9 investigates new insurance hurdle



BELLEVIEW,Fla. - Action 9 investigates a new threat against homeowners. Some insurance companies now demand inspections for older homes and if you don't replace a roof or even your air conditioning system, you could be canceled.

It happened to a Marion County family. Cleland and Rebecca Lewis have no protection.

Cleland Lewis said American Integrity canceled their homeowners insurance because their air conditioning system was too old.

"They just automatically canceled me out without any say so whatsoever," he said.

Lewis said he was outraged because the insurance company had insisted on a four-point inspection the industry uses to uncover possible risks.

The inspection turned up risky aluminum wiring, so they paid for a new breaker box.

But the air conditioning unit passed that inspection and when Lewis asked Marion County officials to check it, they told him it was up to code.

According to Lewis, the insurance company based its denial on the system's age, more than 30 years, and that it makes the final decision, not the inspection company.

It's another test the homeowner has to pass just to insure their property.

Florida's Insurance Advocate Robin Westcott told Action 9 she's concerned the industry makes unfair demands in new underwriting requirements.

American Integrity told Ulrich that now that the electrical concern was fixed the cancellation would be reconsidered. But its recently changed underwriting can require cancellations for old air conditioning systems.

"Customers who have homes that are 30 years old or older need to update those appliances and it's a safety issue for them," said American Integrity spokesperson Lisa Miller.

Unless American Integrity restores their policy the couple could be forced to buy a Citizens policy at a far higher premium.

"There's a good chance you won't be able to get insurance or you'll be paying more than your mortgage ever was," said Cleland Lewis.

Late Thursday an American Integrity insurance representative said the homeowner had not provided proof of the electrical changes he made. The company is reviewing the case, but said older air conditioning units can trigger cancellations.