According to the Florida Office of Insurance Regulation, Category 5 Hurricane Michael has led to over 150,000 insurance claims from businesses and homeowners. These claims represent over $7.1 billion in losses covered by insurance. The office noted that as of Sept. 27, 2019, 99,208 of those claims deal with hurricane damage to homes and other residential properties. While 132,201 claims, over 88% of those filed, have been closed since the devastating storm, this means that thousands of homeowners are still waiting for much-needed reimbursements for urgent repairs to their homes. The hurricane hit the Florida Panhandle with massive force and has left behind lasting damage as public buildings, businesses and homes go unrepaired.
The state insurance commissioner said that substantial work still needs to be done to resolve the outstanding homeowners’ insurance claims. Recovery from the storm continues to be delayed when residents face delays or denials for their claims related to damage to their homes caused by the hurricane. Bay County has been the largest epicenter for insurance filings related to Michael as 89,519 of the claims originated there. However, the storm also impacted other Florida counties, including Gulf, Jackson, Calhoun and Liberty counties, all of which have at least 1,000 insurance claims filed.
In many cases, homeowners have been dealing with delayed claims. Over 1,700 complaints were received by Florida officials, including some related to companies that failed to pay out substantiated claims within 90 days after reaching a settlement. However, the delays can be far more substantial because some companies take months to even estimate the damages to a policyholder’s home.
Some Florida homeowners are still struggling with their insurance companies despite regularly paying their premiums for years. An insurance law attorney may be able to help people pressure their insurance companies to make payouts for hurricane damage claims.