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Insurance concerns from Hurricanes Hermine, Matthew linger

Mon Dec 12th, 2016 on     Insurance Claims,    

At this time of the year, most people are focused on preparations, gatherings and all things holiday-related. Indeed, it’s probably safe to say that the last thing on the minds of many Floridians are the two major hurricanes that hit the state this past fall — Hurricane Hermine in September and Hurricane Matthew in October.

For those living in the regions affected by these storms, however, the memories are likely still very vivid even in the midst of the holiday season. That’s because many are still dealing with the property damage and, of course, the insurance companies.

Interestingly enough, the Florida Office of Insurance Regulation released its latest round of statistics concerning hurricanes Hermine and Matthew last week, and the results were eye opening:

  • The two storms caused a combined $824 million in losses covered by insurance.
  • The majority of insurers will be able to cover claims without resorting to reinsurance.
  • The two storms have resulted in the filing of over 120,000 claims with roughly 42,000 being resolved with no payment and an additional 33,000 yet to be resolved.

While these are high numbers, both the state Office of Insurance Regulation and the Florida Department of Financial Services have indicated that they are actually in line with historical trends, and that there haven’t been signs of any misconduct by insurers thus far.

Indeed, the state’s Chief Financial Officer Jeff Atwater indicated at a recent hearing before Governor Rick Scott, Insurance Commissioner David Altmaier and other members of the Florida Cabinet that the Division of Consumer Services, which his agency oversees, has received only 200-plus calls from consumers asserting everything from low payments to claim delays and claim denials.

While it may be true that the number of complaints, denied claims and outstanding claims are in line with historical trends, it’s important for aggrieved consumers not to think that this means they are without options or that their complaints are somehow without merit.

Indeed, consumers with concerns about denied claims, unreasonably delayed claim payments, underpayment of claims and even bad faith dealing in relation to the recent hurricanes should strongly consider speaking with a skilled legal professional.

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