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Citizens Insurance avoids brunt of Hurricane Michael claims

As the Office of Insurance Regulation continues to tally insurance claims arising from Hurricane Michael, Citizens Property Insurance Corp. announced that the storm will not negatively impact its finances. The bulk of personal policies written by Citizens apply to properties in South Florida, and damage from Michael was concentrated in the northwest region of the state.

The state-owned insurer reported that as of Nov. 14 it had received 3,189 claims so far related to Hurricane Michael, which was a category 4 storm that produced significant damage. Citizens expects to pay out roughly $142 million, an amount that does not exceed the company's cash reserves. Because of the light load of claims directed at Citizens, the company will not need to dip into the Florida Hurricane Catastrophe Fund or make claims upon reinsurance partners.

However, other insurers did not fare as well in the storm. According to data collected by state insurance regulators, estimated insured losses from Michael will total $2.94 billion. Claims continue to pour in from property owners. As of Nov. 6, the state had recorded 115,423 claims worth $2.6 billion.

Although insurance companies prepare financially to meet their obligations to policyholders, one could easily experience delays and denials when making a claim. However, an attorney could help someone get the attention of an insurer that has been uncooperative. Legal counsel could review the insurance contract and gather information about available coverage. This could help an attorney challenge an insurer's attempt to dodge payment of legitimate hurricane damage claims.

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