Individuals in the Miami, Florida, area should be aware that a major property insurer is reopening claims left over from Hurricane Irma. More than a third of the claims have been revived.
According to the insurance company, a shortage of contractors has led to a delay in reimbursement to its policyholders. If the claims are closed, homeowners and business owners are less likely to make repairs as many fear lack of reimbursement. According to the company, more than 24,000 claims will be reopened, allowing policyholders to submit additional proof of loss and repair estimates. The company asserts that many of its insured property owners were confused about initial payments, believing that was the only reimbursement they would receive.
Another large reason for the reopening of the claims is to prevent litigation costs. The company estimated a large jump in litigation expenses for the fiscal year 2018. The estimate is as high as 23 percent of its operating costs. If the estimate holds true, litigation costs alone may exceed $17 million. This figure does not include the cost of payment on the claims. The company hopes to eliminate litigation expenses by paying more claims as proof of loss is submitted.
An insurance policy is essentially a contract between the policyholder and the insurance company. Both parties are bound by contractual obligations. In the policyholder's case, this normally means providing truthful information on the application and timely payment of the premiums. For the company, it means prompt and fair payment of claims.
If the insurer fails or refuses to timely pay a claim, the insured's only option often is litigation. Since there are special rules for filing a suit against an insurance company, selecting an attorney who is experienced with insurance litigation is an important step for someone to take in order to be successful at a trial.