The consequences of the terrible Hurricane Michael, which devastated a part of the Panhandle, has not ceased to be a problem for the inhabitants of that area since there are still many open insurance claims.
By MiamiDiario Newsroom
It's been 10 months after Hurricane Michael hit South Florida, and the reality is that the reason for so many complaints is unknown open insurance, said tampabay.com.
Previously, the Office of Insurance Regulation regularly requested the claims information de more than 90 dayss.
Also, there is a law in Florida, which means that residential property insurers must pay their claims within 90 days.
One of the problems that state insurance regulators have is that - 10 months after Michael passed - they still cannot determine how many of the more than 20.000 claims that exist, violate the law.
Now Florida Office of Insurance Regulation is not receiving how many claims have been resolved in 90 days, the officials justify it by stating that the law is not exactly what it seems.
But attorneys representing storm victims say it's important to know how fast insurance companies are getting money to their customers.
Now, ten months later and at the door of another hurricane season, state officials have again asked for pending claims and data on the age of those debts.
According to the new Florida Insurance Consumer Advocate, Tasha Carter, La Florida Office of Insurance Regulation you will get that information this week.
Carter was appointed to that position after the position had been vacant for six months. For her, the large number of open claims is "worrying."
El Hurricane Michael it was the first Category 5 storm to hit the United States since Hurricane Andrew. Insurers reported nearly $7 billion in losses in about 150.000 claims that their clients made.
According to insurers more than 107.000 of those claims have been paid.
However more than 20.000 claims, approximately 14% of the total submitted, are still open since Michael swept through the Panhandle on October 10.
Officials from the Office of Financial Regulation say they are interested "in ensuring that claimants rreceive a timely payment once they meet the conditions, and is also interested in businesses' accessibility to consumers and customer service, including regular communication with claimants, setting expectations, and deploying appropriate adjusting resources."
The waiting period
The reality is that insurers do not have to pay within 90 days of filing a claim, Florida law gives companies much more time.
The three-month time frame applies only after a claim is made, the insurer decides how much to pay, reports it, and then the owner agrees to that amount.
A Tampa attorney, Chip Merlin, told tampabay.comThe law allows insurance companies to take months to provide an estimate, a problem that has worsened in recent years.
The lawyer explained that insurance companies spend weeks and months with multiple adjusters who consult experts and carry out inspections before making an estimate. Sometimes the decision on the amount is made six months after the hurricane.
Sometimes, the client does not agree with the estimate and rejects it, in those cases the 90 days that the law says are not activated until the client and the insurance company agree.
Policies of Insurance Commissioner Kevin McCarty
Under the administration of former Insurance Commissioner Kevin McCarty, the Florida Office of Insurance Regulation asked insurance companies for detailed information on the status of claims related to the storm, when they were 30 days old, 60 days old, 90 days old, and more than 90 days old.
McCarty said he doesn't know when the policy changed, he resigned in 2016 after pressure from former Gov. Rick Scott.
commented the Florida Insurance Consumer Advocate, Tasha Carter, that in the campaign that took place last weekend the insurance companies paid more than $2.4 million in claims. This figure is important, but I did not understand why it was not paid before.