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Florida insurer reviewing Hurricane Irma claims

The estimates and payments provided to some customers of Citizens Property Insurance after Hurricane Irma might change. The insurance company that operates with backing from the state announced that it has reopened over one-third of 66,761 claims for damage after the storm. The insurer plans to review repair estimates for heavily damaged properties and disputed claims. Benefit claims that lacked repair estimates from contractors will also come under scrutiny.

The chief of claims said that the preliminary decisions about benefits provided by the insurer are not final. Once repairs begin, contractors sometimes adjust their estimates. The insurer warned people who have already received payments that they should not consider their claims closed or complete.

The reopening of cases follows the insurer's initial closure of approximately 90 percent of storm damage claims caused by Irma. The company has issued payments for just over half of its closed claims. Most of these claims came from policy holders for residential properties. According to the Office of Insurance Regulation, losses from the hurricane have totaled an estimated $7.95 billion.

Homeowners who want an independent analysis of available insurance benefits after a storm could consult an attorney familiar with hurricane damage claims. An attorney could review the terms of the policy and explain coverage. The client could also ask the attorney to communicate directly with the insurance adjuster. This service might result in a settlement that more accurately reflects the cost of damage. If a homeowner has already experienced a denial of benefits, an attorney could challenge that decision.

Source: News 4 JAX, "Citizens Property Insurance reopens Irma claims", March 28, 2018

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