Homeowners are facing serious losses after Hurricane Michael hit the Florida Panhandle and surrounding areas in October. According to Florida's Office of Insurance Regulation, the total estimate of insured losses from the hurricane have reached $2.1 billion so far, a number that is expected to rise. The state agency said that as of Oct. 30, there were 110,183 insurance claims filed in relation to damages caused by the Category 4 storm. However, only 26.1 percent of those claims had been closed by the time of the report, which collected data from all insurers operating in the area.

There have been a number of different types of insurance claims relating to hurricane damage, with homeowners' insurance claims leading the pack. There have been 78,045 insurance claims filed for damage to residential property, of which 57,088 are claims against homeowners' policies. Only around 20 percent of all of these residential claims had been closed by the time of the state report. In addition, there were 4,471 commercial property claims filed for hurricane damage, of which 10.3 percent were resolved.

Estimates indicate that damages from the hurricane could reach up to $4 billion at minimum or $10 billion on the higher end. This includes losses in Florida and the surrounding states hit by Hurricane Michael. However, insurance companies have said that they do not expect to be hurt by the claims; indeed, experts noted that insurers had billions of dollars in surpluses and capital on hand.

Despite the insurers' ability to pay, residents often face difficulties in pursuing their homeowners' insurance claims. Legitimate hurricane damage claims are often driven down or even denied. In addition, a homeowner may face lengthy delays in receiving the compensation they are due. An insurance attorney can represent someone dealing with recalcitrant insurers and work to achieve a fair, quick resolution.

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