Insurance companies still sorting out Hurricane Michael claims

Hurricane Michael made landfall in Florida in October 2018, and the storm is believed to be responsible for more than $6.9 billion in insured losses. There were 148,347 claims made related to the storm, and of those claims, 20,484 have yet to be resolved according to state authorities. That represents roughly 14% of all claims made related to the storm. In Bay County, 17% of the 88,830 claims related to Hurricane Michael have yet to be resolved.

The insurance commissioner in Florida has warned insurance companies not to delay efforts to close any unresolved cases in a timely manner. He said that their reputation of the insurance industry was at stake as they work to help policyholders. The commissioner told the governor and other state lawmakers that he was concerned over the number of claims that were still outstanding as of July 2019.

Property damage and tax law

If a Florida property is damaged in a flood or hurricane, its owner may be entitled to a tax deduction for the losses that have been incurred. However, there are several conditions that must be met to qualify for it. First, the damage must have been caused by a storm recognized as a federal disaster. Second, the deduction is only available if damages were more than 10% of the owner's adjusted gross income.

Florida property owners misled by outdated flood maps

Florida property owners who rely on FEMA maps to identify whether their homes and businesses are at risk of flooding may be at a disadvantage. Outdated flood maps mark a number of places as low risk in Florida that have been hit hard in recent years by hurricanes. The maps have not been updated in a decade. For some areas, such as parts of Escambia County, it has been more than 15 years.

Hurricane Irma flood compensation tops $1 billion

In the time since Hurricane Irma struck Florida in 2017, the National Flood Insurance Program, run through FEMA, has paid out over $1 billion in flood insurance claims. Over 21,900 claims were made by policyholders, including Florida homeowners and business owners, who suffered property damage as a result of flooding caused by Irma. The devastation caused by the major storm inspired state officials to once again encourage residents to ensure that they have flood insurance for their properties lest they face additional damages from another storm.

Natural disasters can cost homeowners a lot of money

A homeowners insurance policy could help those who live in Florida pay for damages caused by a hurricane. However, it may not be enough to pay for all of the damage. This is because insurance companies may include a hurricane deductible, which can be as much a 5% of the home's value. Furthermore, water damage may not be covered unless an individual has a flood insurance policy.

Hurricane damages exceed $6.65 billion

Florida homeowners continue to struggle with their losses in the aftermath of Hurricane Michael. According to the state's Office of Insurance Regulation, losses covered by insurance are greater than $6.65 billion. The October 2018 storm led to the filing of 147,877 insurance claims. Nearly 15% of these claims remain open. The storm hit land in Mexico Beach and caused severe damage throughout Northwest Florida. Rated as a Category 5 hurricane, Michael destroyed homes, businesses, public lands and government facilities. Many people continue to rely on temporary housing or shelter and have not yet experienced the full restoration of utilities and services.

Many Floridians unfamiliar with lasting hurricane damage

While Florida residents who lived through Hurricane Michael are deeply aware of the extent of the damages caused by the storm, many people outside the region do not realize how much the hurricane continues to impact the lives of people in the area. Residents who continue to deal with cleanup, debris and unpaid insurance claims are angry at the lack of support they are receiving as well as the limited attention paid to the lingering effects of the storm. According to a survey of 1,000 Florida voters across the state, only 57% knew that continuing damages from Hurricane Michael continue to harm areas impacted by the hurricane.

Ensuring a home is covered by hurricane insurance

Living in Florida inherently comes with the risk of experiencing a hurricane at one time or another. These storms can cause significant damage to homes, so it's important for homeowners to protect their financial interests with insurance. This should be one of the first steps newcomers to the state make, especially if they are moving during hurricane season. A storm can happen at almost any point in the season, so being prepared is essential.

Losses from hail storms jumped in 2008

In 2008, the cost of hail damage caused by thunderstorms in states like Florida nearly doubled to $19 billion per year. Every year after that, costs have remained high, but the insurance industry doesn't understand the cause. According to one industry analyst, there are several possible weather-related and socioeconomic causes that may explain this phenomenon. The biggest mystery is why the numbers spiked in 2008 in particular rather than gradually rising over time.

New program helps Florida residents prepare for hurricane season

The Prepare Florida program will help residents of the state take measures to protect themselves before a major storm hits. Taking action prior to hurricane season can be important because hurricanes can often form and make landfall with little warning. Ideally, Florida residents will have an emergency kit that will make it possible to organize financial and other information in one place. The program also offers advice about how to find insurance and how to file a claim.

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