The Florida Office of Insurance Regulation has posted some preliminary numbers about the insurance claims resulting from Hurricane Michael. Close to 100,000 claims have already been submitted by people whose properties suffered damage in the category 4 storm that hit the state on Oct. 10.

The number of claims has accelerated since the previous week as recovery efforts continue and people survey the damage. Initially, 69,950 claims pursued payment for losses of approximately $680.7 million. The passage of another week added roughly another $569.3 million more in losses, pushing the total so far up to about $1.25 billion according to estimates from the state.

The northwest part of the state bore the brunt of the high-powered hurricane. To date, the majority of claims filed have come from residential properties. Of the 71,913 insurance claims for private dwellings, 64,921 of them remain open as the policyholders await decisions from their insurers.

When large natural disasters strike, insurance companies might get bogged down when processing claims. Although some delays might be acceptable, a homeowner should be vigilant against tactics meant to limit a settlement or deny a claim entirely. A person who has not received a satisfactory response from an insurer could pursue legal representation. An attorney knowledgeable about homeowners' insurance claims could work to defend the policyholder's interests. After reviewing the terms of the insurance contract, an attorney could inform the client about available coverage. Legal counsel might prepare the claim paperwork and follow up with the insurance adjuster in an effort to obtain fair consideration from the insurer. If a serious dispute arises, the attorney could file a lawsuit to pursue the compensation owed to the homeowner.

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