Make us your home page

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

About a third of insurance claims from Florida's 2016 hurricanes left unpaid

TALLAHASSEE — Nearly one out of every three people who have put in a damage claim from the two hurricanes that hit Florida this year won't receive a nickel to cover the cost, state data shows.

The Florida Office of Insurance Regulation released new statistics Tuesday that show hurricanes Hermine and Matthew caused a combined $824 million in insured losses. More than 120,000 claims have been submitted for the two storms combined, but about 42,000 have been resolved with no payments to the property owners. Another 33,000 claims have yet to be resolved.

State regulators say the payment rate, so far, isn't unusual. Florida's new insurance commissioner, David Altmaier, told Gov. Rick Scott and the Florida Cabinet on Tuesday that officials are closely watching insurers for trends showing companies are slow to respond to claims or engage in conduct that would prompt a reaction from his agency.

"Obviously there are going to be complaints in times like these, but we haven't seen trends or patterns that this is an unreasonable number of unresolved claims," Altmaier said afterward.

Hurricane Hermine hit North Florida in September. Hurricane Matthew buzzed Florida's east coast in October.

Florida Chief Financial Officer Jeff Atwater, a member of the Cabinet, said those who don't get paid often put in a claim for something that ultimately wasn't covered under the policy they had or that the damage is less than the deductible. Atwater said the numbers may be high because he and others have encouraged people to file a claim even if they aren't sure.

The Division of Consumer Services, which Atwater oversees, has received just 205 complaint calls from people upset that their claim was denied, it was too low or the company dragged its feet.

Altmaier said the 2016 hurricane season has not put any insurers in financial jeopardy, like what happened frequently a decade ago when some companies did not provide enough money to cover claims.

"We don't see any signs at this point — and we don't expect to see any signs — that an insurance company would have trouble meeting their financial obligations," Altmaier said.

Contact Jeremy Wallace at [email protected] Follow @JeremySWallace.

About a third of insurance claims from Florida's 2016 hurricanes left unpaid 12/06/16 [Last modified: Thursday, December 8, 2016 4:03pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Lightning edges Red Wings on road

    Lightning Strikes

    DETROIT — The digs were different, the Lightning seeing the masterfully-done new Little Caesar's Arena for the first time.

    Lightning center/Red Wings’ killer Tyler Johnson gets past defenseman Trevor Daley on his way to the first goal of the game.
  2. Armwood pulls away to defeat Plant 27-7, remain undefeated


    SEFFNER — First-year Armwood coach Evan Davis pulled out all the stops to get his team psyched for Monday's annual grudge match against Plant.

    Armwood defensive end Malcolm Lamar (97) gets fired up before the start of the game between Plant High School Panthers and the Armwood High School Hawks in Suffer, Fla. on Monday, Oct. 16, 2017.
  3. Clearwater police: Car thief dead after owner fires gun


    CLEARWATER — One man is dead after the owner of a car fired shots at the thieves who were stealing it Monday night, police said.

  4. Iraqi forces sweep into Kirkuk, checking Kurdish independence drive


    KIRKUK, Iraq — After weeks of threats and posturing, the Iraqi government began a military assault Monday to curb the independence drive by the nation's Kurdish minority, wresting oil fields and a contested city from separatists pushing to break away from Iraq.

    Iraqi security forces patrol Monday in Tuz Khormato, about 45 miles south of Kirkuk, a disputed city that the government seized in response to last month’s Kurdish vote for independence.
  5. Trump and McConnell strive for unity amid rising tensions


    WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump and Sen. Mitch McConnell, the Republican leader, tried to convey a sense of harmony Monday after months of private feuding that threatened to undermine their party's legislative push in the coming weeks to enact a sweeping tax cut.

    President Donald Trump and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell field questions Monday in the Rose Garden of the White House. “We have been friends for a long time,” Trump said.