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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.

Residential properties sustained the most damage when Hurricane Michael hit. Many of those properties were not built to withstand the strength of a Category 4 storm. Fortunately, a large portion of the damage to residential property was covered by homeowner's insurance. However, there was significant damage to commercial properties and vehicles. Additionally, agricultural crops were damaged to the point that it will likely take years for them to recover. According to Aon, a sizeable portion of those losses were not covered by insurance.

Homeowners insurance has saved many families from financial disaster, especially when the family home suffered extensive damage or was completely destroyed due to a hurricane or tropical storm. However, some insurance companies act in bad faith during such times and deny legitimate claims, leaving homeowners out in the cold. When that it is the case, a homeowner may want to contact a law firm with experience in handling hurricane damage claims.

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