FORT LAUDERDALE, Florida. Many insurance claims remain unpaid after hurricanes Irma and Maria. According to the Palm Beach Post, approximately 50% of insurance claims remain unpaid or delayed after Irma in Florida. Homeowners have been forced to finance repairs themselves while they wait for insurance companies to come through. For some families, this means maxed out credit cards and financial difficulties. The insurance industry was hit hard this hurricane season, with hurricanes Harvey, Irma, and Maria all striking one after another in short succession. There simply are not enough adjusters out there to review all the claims that have been made. The claims process has been slow. Furthermore, with so much damage, there may also be a shortage of available contractors.
Florida is not the only place hit hard by unpaid claims. In Puerto Rico, unpaid claims from Maria are still hurting businesses. According to Caribbean Business, many businesses have had to stop operating, further increasing the losses. The Insurance Commissioner’s Office has issued 542 fines to insurance companies. However, this may not be an accurate reflection of the abuse. Not all unpaid claims are reported.
Puerto Rico’s recovery has been slow due to the difficulty of getting supplies to the island, and due to the U.S. government’s slow response. However, when insurance companies fail to pay business owners their claims so that they can make repairs, it not only harms individual businesses, but the economy as a whole. Employers can’t bring workers back to their jobs and the local community loses vibrancy as a result of closed businesses. Individuals who have been having difficulty making a claim with their insurance companies should issue a formal complaint to the Insurance Commissioner’s Office. 58.3 percent of business owners claim that delayed claims have been affecting operations.
In Florida, as of December, 181,000 claims remained open, with another 265,000 claims being closed without payment.
In addition to problems with claims, home owners may become prey to fraudulent contracting companies. Home owners should protect themselves after a storm. Contractors may inflate prices of repairs, so it is important to shop around or have your adjuster estimate how much repairs will cost before you perform the repairs. If you must perform the repairs right away, you may want to take the time to get a few estimates before you go with a contractor.
Insurance companies have a responsibility to act in good faith when adjusting and estimating the value of a claim. If you paid your insurance faithfully over the years, your insurance company has a responsibility to be there for you when you need them to be. If you feel that the recovery your insurance is providing you is lower than you deserve, don’t sign any documents that say you are making a “full and final settlement.” Take the time to speak to a qualified lawyer in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. Leader & Leader, P.A. are qualified insurance claim lawyers in Florida who can speak to adjusters, evaluate your claim, and fight to help you get the recovery you may deserve under the law. Visit the Fort Lauderdale insurance claim lawyers at Leader & Leader, P.A.’s website: https://leader-law.com/.