Office of Insurance Regulation

Facts are stubborn, but statistics are more pliable.
—Mark Twain

Closed claim file statistics reported by various departments of insurance following hurricanes seem absurd to those in the impacted areas and those working in the insurance claim business. The root of the problem is that most departments of insurance put pressure on insurance companies to close claims fast and provide high percentages of closed claims. So, insurance companies “administratively close” files to meet regulatory requirements and the politicians look good in the press reporting what everybody knows are fabricated numbers. The files then are reopened to make more payments and then closed again.
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From left to right, JL Evans, Donice Krueger, Chip Merlin, Ron Delo, James and Rene Howard

Hurricane Michael insurance claims continue to take up a lot of time with Merlin Law Group attorneys. The photograph above is from dinner last night in Panama City, Florida, where the issues and problems of getting insurance claims resolved fully were the hot topic of discussion. Hurricane Michael has a lot of slow and low paying claims where insurers are wrongfully reporting to the Office of Insurance Regulation that the claim is administratively “closed” when it is anything other than being over from the policyholder’s view.
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The Florida Department of Financial Services (DFS) has issued an email authorizing Florida licensed public adjusters to hire anybody to make estimates of damage. This email corrects my latest two blogs which indicated that the OIR wanted to prevent those not licensed from working on insurance claims by determining valuations of loss and estimates of damage.
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The Florida Office of Insurance Regulation recently released updated data from Hurricane Irma.1 A quick review of the data paints an interesting picture. While we all know that Irma did substantial damage in Florida, the sheer size of the numbers is still daunting. Almost one million claims have been reported (997,237) totaling over $10,000,000,000.00 in estimated damage. These are the numbers self-reported from insurers.
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The State of Florida is in the process of replacing the current Insurance Commissioner Kevin McCarty. As this blog has outlined in prior posts, McCarty has been a fair and effective commissioner under very difficult circumstances. His departure will be a loss for Florida’s insurance consumers.


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Each year the Florida Office of Insurance Regulation (OIR) publishes an Annual Report for the prior year pursuant to Florida Statute Section 624.315. I was researching another issue when I thought this would be a good blog post. This report briefly describes OIR roles and responsibilities, summarizes major activities and accomplishments, and highlights the state of the Florida insurance market, insurance complaints and the impact of the insurance industry on the Florida economy. It also contains company financial, market share, and premium information.


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Many states have prompt claim payment statutes.1 In Florida, we have myriad statutes aimed at facilitating the prompt adjustment of claims.2 So, are insurers adjusting claims as promptly as they should be? Here are statistics obtained by the Florida Office of Insurance Regulation while conducting a market conduct examination of one of the largest homeowners insurance writers in the State of Florida (note: the below statistics were derived from a random survey of claims opened by the subject carrier over a period of approximately two years):


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