An Astounding 15,000 Claims Are Still Open after Hurricane Michael
Hurricane Michael made landfall in 2018, almost 18 months ago. However, the number of open insurance claims still clocks in at an amazing 15,000, according to a story in the Tampa Bay Times. This means that many property owners have been unable to pay for necessary repairs years after they sustained hurricane damage.
The numbers come from the Office of Insurance Regulation. According to their statistics, about 31% of all commercial claims remain open, along with 11% of residential claims.
Even more disturbing, almost 21,000 insurance claims were closed without the insurance company paying a single penny. This is a very high number of insurance denials.
And in case you think Hurricane Michael was a one-off event. The number of open claims for Hurricane Irma currently stands at 76,298! Irma, if you recall, struck Florida all the way back in September 2017.
What Is to Blame for the Delays?
There is no real reason why over 15,000 people are still waiting for an insurer to make a determination on their claim. Insurance companies use all kinds of tactics to avoid paying claims or to slow the process to a crawl. For example, they might send multiple adjusters out to view the property to try and determine the extent of damage. Scheduling conflicts and other delays often means that homeowners must wait months for multiple adjusters to troop around their property to survey the destruction.
Other insurers will try to claim that the damage was not caused by the hurricane. This is often a source of denials. An insurance company might argue that owner negligence is to blame for the leak in a roof or for mold growing behind the walls.
Can You Speed Along the Process?
As experienced hurricane insurance claim lawyers in Volusia County, we hear from distressed homeowners who need money to make necessary repairs. “Is there anything we can do?” they often ask.
It’s true that some steps can speed up the claims process. Fully documenting the extent of damage with photographs, video, and a home inventory can help. So can promptly contacting your insurance company and providing any requested information. Remember to hold onto all receipts related to your claim, which can also speed up the process.
But if an insurer wants to play hardball, then homeowners need to call in reinforcements. This often means hiring a lawyer to represent your interests and try to jog the insurance company into action.
We Can Help
At Bundza & Rodriguez, P.A. we can handle your claim and communications with your insurer. We also can threaten to bring litigation when an insurance company violates its contract or one of Florida’s many bad faith insurance laws.
No homeowner should be left homeless after a hurricane. And those who diligently paid their insurance premiums each month should not be hung out to dry after a devastating hurricane or other storm.