Florida law requires that insurance claims on residential property be paid within 90 days, but the clock does not start running when the claim is made as many people think. Rather, insurance companies have 90 days from the point at which the insured and the insurer agree about the value of the claim. This dynamic has led to a situation in which residential property owners are often required to wait much longer than that before they receive compensation for their insured losses.

Ten months after Hurricane Michael, the first Category 5 storm to make landfall nationwide since Hurricane Andrew, government officials cannot provide accurate data regarding the payment status of in excess of 20,000 open claims. Many of them are likely to be in violation of the law, but insurance companies have not provided necessary information to the state's Office of Insurance Regulation. With stress on the number of outstanding Hurricane Michael claims, insurance regulators in July 2019 asked insurers for data about the age of claims and why they have not yet been paid.

The state's Insurance Consumer Advocate has said the number of open claims is concerning. Insurers reported that almost 150,000 claims were filed in the wake of Hurricane Michael, and more than 107,000 of those have been paid. More than 20,000 insurance claims ended with no payment to the insured.

People who have insurance policies to cover property in the event of a hurricane or other disaster count on insurance companies to make timely payments. Insurance companies, though, have incentives to delay or deny valid claims. An attorney with experience pursuing homeowners' insurance claims might be able to help people collect insurance proceeds by gathering evidence and putting together a claim or by communicating with insurers on the client's behalf. An attorney may be able to put pressure on the insurer to pay out on a claim or file a civil lawsuit if the insurer is not cooperative.

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