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Miami Florida Insurance Claim Law Blog

Hurricane Michael continues to leave behind damage

Florida homeowners are continuing to suffer from the aftermath of Hurricane Michael, even six months after the storm hit the state with 155 mph winds. Forty-nine people were killed by the hurricane as it blew through 12 Florida counties, and the emotional and economic recovery period is continuing to linger on. A number of houses were destroyed and have not been rebuilt, while road damage and downed trees also persist in some areas. Some homeowners are even experiencing delays related to their insurance claims for storm damage.

The state's insurance regulator said that 144,667 property damage insurance claims have been filed as a result of Hurricane Michael. Of those, 95,632 were residential homeowners' insurance claims. In total, the claims already filed amount to over $6 billion in damages, and the total costs could rise to twice that amount. The storm came to land at Mexico Beach, where 800 homes were destroyed. The destroyed homes account for half of those in the community. Of those that continue to stand, half still do not have electricity or water service.

Damage from Irma still not fully repaired

In 2017, Hurricane Irma made landfall in the state of Florida. After more than a year, some homeowners are still waiting for their insurance companies to pay for damage that the storm did to their homes. One man says that his entire house needs to be gutted and rebuilt before he and his family can move back in permanently. While the man says that rebuilding efforts started after the storm, they had to stop because of mold.

According to the man, his insurance company have him some money to repair his home, but the claim has not been resolved. The homeowner borrowed $25,000 to repair his roof from the Small Business Association. A local news station toured the home and had to wear masks because of the mold. The homeowner said that he had to take his wife to the hospital because of a respiratory infection due to the conditions in the house.

Hurricane Michael industry loss estimates reach $11 billion

The Florida Panhandle suffered widespread devastation when Hurricane Michael made landfall Oct. 10, 2018. The Category 4 storm carried peak winds of 155 mph and produced a storm surge of more than 20 feet. In addition to flooding and wind damage that occurred in Florida and neighboring states, the effects of Hurricane Michael could be felt as far away as Maryland.

Aon, a large insurance broker, has revised its Hurricane Michael industry loss estimates to $11 billion, a significant increase from its initial estimate of $8 billion. The revised number also exceeds the $10 billion estimate made by Munich Re. Additionally, Aon estimates the economic losses of Hurricane Michael at $25 billion. As of March 15, 2019, the total amount of paid claims due to Michael was slightly more than $6 billion according to the Florida Office of Insurance Regulation.

Insurance costs to rise because of climate change

One of the impacts of climate change could be that insurance will be too expensive for many people in Florida and throughout the country to afford. Climate change was cited as the reason why insurance companies lost $24 billion after wildfires burned portions of California. In addition to fires, increasing global temperatures could result in hail, rain and other significant weather events. Generally speaking, the more risk an insurance company has to take, the more it will charge for coverage.

If severe weather events become more common, rates may have to rise to ensure that insurance providers have an incentive to stay in the market. In the event that individuals are unable to protect themselves financially, access to insurance could become a social issue. According to a representative from Insurance Europe, access to insurance is critical for society to be able to function properly.

3 problems with windows to watch out for

Windows can have some problems that are necessary to avoid if you want your home to retain its value and to be safe to live in. There are several common issues that arise with windows, including warping, bowing and fogging up.

Each of these conditions shows that there is a problem with the construction of your home or windows. If the defects aren't addressed, they can make your home less energy-efficient and impact your ability to live in your home safely.

Federal aid helps Floridians recover from Hurricane Michael

The damages caused by Hurricane Michael continue to haunt people in Florida and cause significant damage to their pocketbooks. According to the Federal Emergency Management Agency, over $957 million in federal assistance has been provided to Florida as a result of the hurricane, five months after it was declared a disaster. This aid has taken several forms, including that of grants, loans and insurance payments for individual homeowners, business owners and state and local governments.

FEMA said that the disaster assistance included $137 million in grants given to 31,000 renters and homeowners. People in 12 counties designated for individual assistance received these funds, which help to cover some of the hurricane damages not covered by insurance. This amount included $112 million in housing grants to pay for repairs, replacements or rental assistance to help people house themselves after the storm. It also included $24 million of other types of assistance that helped storm victims pay for property replacement, medical expenses or dental costs.

Couple turns to news channel to get insurance money

A couple in Florida claimed that their insurance company did not pay them enough to fix damage caused by Hurricane Irma in 2017. While they did eventually get the insurance company to increase its payout to $17,647, the couple says that the check still has not arrived. The couple claims that the roof still needs to be fixed and could start to leak at any time.

They reached out to a local news channel, and a representative from the channel reached out to the public adjuster's office. The office subsequently said that the money was available to be picked up at any time. While the couple claims that they paid the adjuster 10 percent, the adjuster's office said that no payment was required unless there were funds available to do so. A representative from the Florida Association of Public Insurance Adjusters also confirmed that adjusters won't charge a person upfront.

There shouldn't a rush to replace the roof

A Florida roof that's over 15 years old could lead to an increase in homeowners' insurance. Furthermore, a homeowner could be denied a policy completely if a roof was installed 19 or more years ago. However, most roofing materials are designed to last for at least 30 years or more. Therefore, rushing to put up a new roof could be a waste of money.

In some cases, a delayed installation could kill a deal to buy or sell a home. While insurance companies say that this protects them from covering damage to older roofs after a hurricane, this may not necessarily be accurate. In Florida, a homeowner will pay a separate deductible if their property is damaged by a hurricane. Usually, this is 2 percent of the home's value. Therefore, an individual would have a $5,000 deductible if the home is worth $100,000.

Florida homeowners may face higher premiums

Many Florida homeowners have suffered greatly as a result of hurricane damage in recent years. Now, they may face higher insurance rates as insurance companies cite unprecedented levels of growing losses after Hurricane Irma. In addition, industry experts said that their costs related to assignment of benefits (AOB) lawsuits and loss investigations are driving up their expenses.

One reinsurance brokerage said that hurricane damage claims after Irma have gone up much more sharply than expected, reaching as high as 26 percent above the initial estimates. Because the losses are growing later than expected, companies refer to these changes as "loss creep." Despite the fact that many of these expenses have grown due to the practices of insurance companies themselves, the brokerage said that homeowners may pay the price in the form of increased insurance premiums. The reinsurance companies said that one of the sources of increased costs for insurers was the use of private investigators to delve into claims for damages submitted by their clients. Therefore, the insurance companies' costs may be escalating because of the level of scrutiny applied to homeowners' claims.

4 types of storm damage can mangle your home

To be able to recognize storm damage, you need to know the kinds to look for. By knowing the types of possible damage, you'll be better able to identify if they've affected your home or other structure.

The primary types of storm damage include hail, wind, impact and water damage. Each of these types of damage can cause significant problems to a structure.

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