Nine Months After Hurricane Michael, More Than 20,000 Hurricane Claims Go Unpaid
According to Florida officials, even though it has been nine-ten months since hurricane Michael struck, insurance companies have left more than 20,000 claims unpaid, which represents approximately 15 percent of all claims associated with the storm. This is shocking, given that, Florida law dictates that insurance companies are supposed to pay claims within 90 days of being filed (unless those claims are contested).
Those who suffered losses due to Michael suffered approximately $4.5 billion, totaling more than 130,000 claims and some businesses are estimating that it could take three to five years before the region is considered fully restored; in large part due to insurance payment delays. Part of the problem also involves insurance companies sending an initial amount, and then sending the remaining portion of funds later, when, at that point, contractors and workers are often unavailable to do the restoration work necessary. In addition, there is no question that insurance companies have been exceedingly slow when it comes to sending payments after the disaster, with Florida homeowners frequently receiving payments that are far too small or delayed and even having their calls go unanswered.
Bay County Especially Hard Hit
Most-all of the unresolved claims (an estimated 74 percent) linked to Michael are in Bay County. In addition, a number of claims have also been artificially labeled “closed” when in fact they are still unresolved and awaiting disputes. Many estimate that a number of the insurance companies are doing this in an effort to appear responsible to the state of Florida.
Obligation Under the Law
By law, insurance companies should (genuinely) be doing everything that they can to resolve all remaining open claims associated with hurricane Michael. And their obligation doesn’t just involve claims related to Michael: Under Florida law, policyholders have three years after a hurricane first lands to file, supplement, and/or reopen a claim. This means that policyholders still have more time to report Hurricane Irma claims as well.
Keep This in Mind for This Year’s Hurricane Season
The following are important steps to take to maximize your insurance recovery after a storm:
- Provide prompt notice – in writing – to your insurance company. Include a basic description of the loss and your contact information;
- Prepare your proof of loss. Include all documentation of property damaged – photographs, receipts, videos, etc. Make sure that you include an inventory of assets if you previously prepared one; and
- Keep track of all of your communications with the insurance company.
If This Affects You, Contact Our Florida Hurricane Claim Insurance Attorneys
If you claim is uncontested and is still open, this is legally problematic and you should speak with one of our Fort Myers hurricane insurance claim denial attorneys at HD Law Partners right away to find out how we can help. Be wary of insurance companies that are purposely slowing the process so that you will give up on your claim or accept whatever you are provided with; even if it is not enough.