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Citizens contracts for examination of water damage claims

Citizens PropertyInsurance Corp. hired an insurance service company to check for inflatedcharges from water damage claims, which have soared in recent years and driven uprates even as the state has enjoyed a respite from severe hurricane effects.

Citizens contracted with Fort Myers, Fla.-based LYNX ServicesLLC to examine whether claim invoices for water damage restoration are reasonableand adhere to industry standards. Citizens and private insurers assignment-of-benefit abuses arebehind the rising water damage losses.

The state-run insurer sought a servicer that would identify excessivecharges from contractors that perform water repairs for policyholders, "andto contest or adjust invoices so it comports with industry standards," accordingto an action item on the hiring for the company's board.

Citizens' board approved the contract July 19, a company spokeswomansaid. The multiyear agreement is for an estimated $1.8 million based on a $365,813annual cost.