Merlin Law Group has consistently tracked Hurricane Michael claim information provided by the Florida Office of Insurance Regulation (FLOIR). Insurance companies reported the total number of claims for Hurricane Michael to be 149,773 with more than $7.4 billion in estimated insured losses as of October 25, 2019. For the latest reporting period, we anticipate the number of new claims filed to increase as many policyholders had hoped their insurance companies would do right by them during the initial adjustment and investigation stage of their claims. It is important to note that Florida Statutes §627.70132, allows policyholders to file a claim within three years of the hurricane’s initial landfall or when the windstorm caused the covered damage, in accordance with the terms of the policy.
Insurance companies reported to have “closed” 89.4% of all Hurricane Michael claims filed as of October 25, 2019. Out of a total of 149,773 claims, insurers contend:
- 112,900 claims are closed with payment – This means that the policyholder has received payment in full, agreed upon settlement amount, and no additional payments are expected to be incurred by the insurance company for this claim. Unfortunately, “closed with payment” could also mean that the insurance companies paid something on the claim but did not necessarily pay the full insurance proceeds due and owing under the policy to make the policyholder whole again. So, an underpayment may have occurred.
- 20,980 claims are closed without payment – The most common reasons reported by insurance companies to close a claim without payment are that the damage did not exceed the hurricane deductible, or the policy did not cover the cause of loss, for instance the damage was caused by flood and the policy did not provide coverage for flood damage. This could result from insurance companies’ field adjuster’s improper investigation and/or failure to retain proper experts to determine the extent and the cause of damages.
- 15,893 claims remain open – A settlement has not been reached or if settlement has been reached and payment is due, the claimant has not yet received payment of the full, agreed upon settlement amount. This category includes claims that have been reopened due to denial of the original claim, claims in which legal action has been taken, claims in appraisal or mediation.
Below is the Hurricane Michael claims data reported by insurance companies as of October 25, 2019.
We will continue to monitor the information released by FLOIR and update our blog accordingly with the latest reporting period regarding Hurricane Michael claims.
If you believe that your insurance company continues to unreasonably delay and deny your claim, file a complaint with the Florida Department of Financial Services, Division of Consumer Services. Below are three easy ways to submit your complaint.
- Online – You can submit a complaint online by visiting Online Insurance Assistance homepage.
- By Telephone – 1-877-MY-FL-CFO (1-877-693-5236).
- By Email – You can also submit a complaint by emailing the Division at Consumer.Services@myfloridacfo.com.
If you have a claim resulting from a hurricane, hailstorm, fire, windstorm or tornado, contact us with specific questions. Our attorneys are here to help you.