No Good Neighbors in Florida
Property owners Maryanne Chavez and Joe Busby were exploited by property insurance companies for years and fought to have their homes repaired by their insurance companies for years in the wake of Hurricanes destroying their homes. They each spent years fighting for their rights in Florida courts.
Both came to Tallahassee during the 2021 legislative session to share their stories with lawmakers. Not only did the proposed property insurance legislation improve because of their remarks – their public testimony resulted in their lawsuits suddenly moving more quickly toward settlement.
Jonathan and Natalie Albaugh are residents of Mexico Beach, Florida. Jonathan is a retired Air Force veteran who continues to protect and serve our country as a private counterterrorism security specialist working on Tyndall Air Force Base. They are the proud parents of six children. Their family home was destroyed in 2018 when Hurricane Michael made landfall near Mexico Beach. Natalie was 23 weeks pregnant.
Four years post Hurricane Michael. They have yet to receive payment for their claim from their insurance company FedNat. The family of eight had been living in a travel trailer on their property until shortly before Thanksgiving 2022, when the City of Mexico Beach fined them, saying the travel trailer violated city ordinances and forced them to leave their property.
During the December 2022 special session of the Legislature on property insurance, the entire Albaugh family traveled to Tallahassee to share their story and meet with lawmakers and urge them to hold property insurance companies accountable and ensure that they properly pay claims.
Families of the victims have not only had to endure the loss of loved ones in the building collapse but are also having to fight lawmakers in Tallahassee who continue to consider changes to Florida’s construction defect laws that continue to favor builders and developers over protecting property owners.
Martin Langesfeld, who lost his sister and brother-in-law in the Surfside building collapse, spent months during the 2022 legislative session coming to Tallahassee to oppose construction defects legislation that would weaken state law and make it easier for negligent builders and other contractors to escape responsibility for faulty construction.
Having citizens like Martin in Tallahassee sharing their stories and condemning terrible policy ideas helps ensure lawmakers hear firsthand the real-world impacts the decisions they make in Tallahassee have on the lives of Floridians.