PASCO COUNTY, Florida – Pasco County retiree Nick Catalano has never seen the other vehicle arriving. The driver hit the back of his SUV at an intersection with New Port Richey last October.
“Suddenly, something hit us so hard that we crossed the three lanes of traffic in the opposite direction,” said Nick’s wife, Mildred, who was in the passenger seat.
The accident caused about $ 3,000 in damage, leaving Nick, a disabled person, unable to get the walker out of the SUV’s rear door and out of it. He has been struggling to shove the walker in the back seat since last October.
According to the accident report, an FHP police officer fined the other driver for careless driving. Then Nick filed a claim on the other driver’s insurance.
Two months later, the insurer sent a letter denying the claim.
In that letter, Direct General wrote: “At the moment, we were unable to speak to our policyholder about the loss … Unfortunately, based on this information, I must refuse to pay your claim.”
Nick said the denial made him “really furious”, adding that “there was no reason why I shouldn’t be paid”.
The couple called for action in April and reporter Jackie Callaway sent an email to Direct General about the denied complaint. The Catalans said the company called them the next day.
“They said they were sorry for what happened and within 48 hours that problem should be resolved,” said Midred.
Direct General never answered our questions, but Catalans say the company told them that the check for damages is in the mail. Jackie Callaway will follow up to ensure they are paid.
The couple did not know they could have filed a claim with the Florida Insurance Division. The agency mediates consumer complaints when they have problems with insurers.
The Financial Services Department has a free customer service hotline, you can call 1-877-693-523 or people can file a complaint online at www.MyFloridaCFO.com/division/consumers