We almost did too, because of the lack of notice and advertisement. But Lynn McCartney from the Florida Justice Association emailed the information to us just in time.

Here is the Nov. 30th press release:

November 30, 2016

Contact: Ashley Carr, CFO Atwater
(850) 413 – 2842
Contact: Amy Bogner, Commissioner Altmaier
(850) 413 – 2515

CFO Jeff Atwater and Commissioner David Altmaier to Host Insurance Roundtable Marking the End of Hurricane Season

ST. AUGUSTINE, Fla. – On Friday, December 2, 2016, Florida Chief Financial Officer Jeff Atwater and Insurance Commissioner David Altmaier will host a roundtable discussion focused on the 2016 Atlantic Hurricane Season, which ends today, November 30. Insurance company executives will join local leaders to discuss Hurricanes Hermine and Matthew, two storms that ended Florida’s decade-long hurricane-free streak.

Experts in their respective fields will present on topics including: the financial impact of the 2016 hurricane season, the federal flood insurance program, helping consumers through the insurance claims-filing process, and more.

Recent data reports show more than 100,000 insurance claims totaling $606 million in losses as a result of Hurricane Matthew and 18,000 insurance claims totaling $95 million as a result of Hurricane Hermine.

WHAT: 2016 Hurricane Season Roundtable
WHERE: Flagler College
Ringhaver Student Center, 2nd Floor Virginia Room
50 Sevilla Drive, St. Augustine, Fla.
WHEN: Friday, December 2
10:00am – 11:30am EST

I walked into the meeting a little early, interested to see who would be on the panel. Especially because the invite said: “Experts in their respective fields will present on topics including: the financial impact of the 2016 hurricane season, the federal flood insurance program, helping consumers through the insurance claims-filing process, and more.”

Who would speak on how to help consumers?

I recognized a lot of people in the room but many are usually across the table from us. The list of roundtable participants included key representatives from almost every major insurance company in Florida. A small group was present from NFIP and an agent or two rounded out the group that was brought together by Atwater and Altmaier. For a complete list of everyone invited and to watch the televised portion of the meeting you can click here.

While not seated at the table, Tasha Carter was also in attendance at this meeting. Atwater was smart for having her address the group. I have known Ms. Carter for several years and I was pleased to find out she would be explaining what her reports were showing about Hurricane Matthew and Hermine complaints.

I will dedicate a future to post to the Division of Consumer Service and why I think it is absolutely required that every policyholder in Florida with a property dispute log this with the state, regardless of whether you have hired counsel or a public adjuster. The state is tracking complaints and while the division of consumer services cannot offer the same remedies as your own adjuster or lawyer, they need to know the botched claims and trends of carriers.

In this meeting, I have to say I was impressed with the questions Atwater was asking about how to make the claims process better for Floridians. Atwater was well informed and was not out of touch with the problems the policyholders were facing. He had once again walked Davis Shores neighborhood that morning.

You can watch the meeting and judge the carrier representatives. Most were silent and did not chime in and none of the private carriers in the meeting were being put on the hot seat. The discussion was clearly focused on National Flood Insurance Program representatives and Atwater was very concerned about flooded families. Many companies present handled WYO flood losses. NFIP addressed the group and made it sound like the handling of the flood losses was going great, which was contrary to what neighbors were telling Atwater. I sat on my hands and shook my head silently at times because of the spin being put on these claims by the flood representatives. Submitting a flood proof of loss and actually getting fully indemnified under the policies was not as simple as the one-page outline.

Here is what the leaders of our state and insurers here should know.

  1. Proofs of loss are not easy. It is not as simple as the showing the price of carpet.
  2. The adjusters coming out to handle your flood claim are flood adjusters who are not employed by NFIP—their loyalty is to the WYO insurance company.
  3. Flood adjusters may not be trained and may be overworked.
  4. Policyholders don’t assume they will have to argue and try to persuade for coverage or better indemnity.
  5. A CLOSED claim does not mean the policyholder sees the claim has properly “closed.”
  6. Policyholders who are not properly paid for their flood loss, have to act promptly and submit the information for their losses in a timely manner—you can’t dilly dally with deadlines.
  7. It is 2016, there should be a more up to date way to send information to NFIP or FEMA, but to be safe, you need to send the information with a tracking number to Kansas. Emailing the adjuster is not the most reliable method.
  8. Hurricane claims are not being handled without incident and Floridians are getting frustrated.

If additional meetings are called, we will post invites and updates.