There were fewer insurance litigation cases in Florida following Hurricane Michael than there were after Hurricane Irma according to one of the state’s insurance companies. Hurricane Michael, a Category 5 storm, struck Florida’s panhandle region in October 2018.
A spokesperson for Citizens Property Insurance Corp. said that 92% of the company’s Hurricane Michael claims had been resolved as of Oct. 21. In total, the insurer received around 3,600 claims following the storm. Of the claims that are still open, a significant portion are in the appraisal phase of the process. That means there is a dispute over the amount of the settlement or the amount of property repairs needed and an independent party has been brought in to assess the case. The spokesperson also said that litigation cases are down when compared to Hurricane Irma.
According to the Florida Office of Insurance Regulation, Hurricane Michael caused more than $7.1 billion in property damage, resulting in 149,443 insurance claims. Of those claims, 132,201, or 88.4%, have been closed. In comparison, Hurricane Irma caused over $10.8 billion in damage, resulting in over 1 million insurance claims. The average claims cost for Hurricane Michael was $44,851. The average claims cost for Hurricane Irma was $10,800. The commissioner of the OIR said that he has been meeting with Florida lawmakers to identify and correct any unnecessary insurance claims delays or denials that have occurred.
An insurance attorney might help homeowners who are having difficulty resolving their hurricane damage claims. The attorney may carefully review a client’s claim and attempt to negotiate a fair settlement on his or her behalf. If insurance litigation is necessary, legal counsel may represent the client’s interests in court. This might result in a financial settlement that covers the homeowner’s losses.