The Florida Office of Insurance Regulation recently released updated claim data for Hurricane Irma. OIR has calculated the total estimated insured losses in Florida at $10,455,503,448, from a total reporting of 997,237 claims. Of those claims filed, 67% of claims came from Homeowners policies, 11% from Dwelling policies and 6 % from Mobile Homeowners policies. Commercial, Flood, Business Interruption and other lines policies make up the remaining 16%.
Interestingly, nearly 1 year after Irma made landfall there are still 82,449 claims still open. Of those claims that closed, Florida insurance companies made no payment on 311,550, just over 31%. Oddly, in Orange County, nearly 25% of all Hurricane Irma Claims filed were closed without payment. In Sarasota County and Manatee County, despite the eye-wall of Irma scraping their eastern edge and hours of 50-70 mph sustained winds, just under half of all claims filed by insureds were closed without payment or are still open (41% Manatee & 48% Sarasota). Stated another way, only slightly more than half of policyholders filing claims actually received a payment from their insurance company.
For comparison, the total number of claims reported following Hurricane Matthew (2016) was 119,345 and for Hurricane Hermine (2016) was 19,699. Across the state, 37% of Matthew Claims and 43% of Hermine Claims were closed without payment. To be sure, Matthew staying just off the coast and Hermine’s relative weakness likely account for slight increase in claims closed without payment for those two storms. Weaker storms = Less Damage. To that end, total claims payments for Matthew and Hermine were and estimated $1,182,000,000 and $139,000,000 respectively. It seems then that many counties on the western edge of the Irma’s eye-wall had a disproportionate number of closures without payment.
Unfortunately for Florida policyholders and aside from variances between the counties, the statistics demonstrate that many policyholders’ claims following a hurricane are likely to be closed without payment. While there are always legitimate claim denials and claim damages that don’t reach the deductible that get reported, Bennett Legal has reviewed numerous hurricane losses following these three storms and repeatedly found ignored or overlooked damages and unsupported denials. If you have a concern that your claim may have been wrongfully denied or simply underpaid, a claim review by an insurance lawyer is just a phone call away and no cost to you. Call Bennett Legal today at (941) 747-7272.