Over the last couple weeks, I’ve had several policyholders call concerned about the upcoming September 10, 2020, “deadline to file a lawsuit.”

I was even forwarded an email from an insurance adjuster to a policyholder representative stating that Florida Statute §627.70132, was the deadline for legal action for any claims arising from Hurricane Irma. Obviously, this adjuster did not actually read §627.70132.

If you tuned in to Merlin Law Group’s Hurricane Irma webinar on August 10th then you know this is absolutely incorrect.

As a recap, §627.70132 states:

[a] claim, supplemental claim, or reopened claim under an insurance policy that provides property insurance, as defined in s. 624.604, for loss or damage caused by the peril of windstorm or hurricane is barred unless notice of the claim, supplemental claim, or reopened claim was given to the insurer in accordance with the terms of the policy within 3 years after the hurricane first made landfall or the windstorm caused the covered damage.

In layman’s terms, a policyholder must provide notice of the Hurricane Irma loss before September 10, 2020. The statute continues on to define a “supplemental claim” or “reopened claim” as:

any additional claim for recovery the insurer for losses from the same hurricane or windstorm which the insurer has previously adjusted pursuant to the initial claim.

I think the consensus is that this definition for “supplemental” or “reopened” claim is a bit confusing. But to be safe, if there is a dispute concerning Hurricane Irma damage, make sure the insurance carrier has notice of the dispute before September 10, 2020.

Finally, §627.70132 specifically states:

This section does not affect any applicable limitation on civil actions provided in s. 95.11 for claims, supplemental claims, or reopened claims timely filed under this section.

§95.11 requires that legal action be filed within five years of the date of loss.

So next time you hear someone say that September 10, 2020, is the statute of limitation for Hurricane Irma claims, set them straight and point them to this blog!