Hurricane Irma Insurance Claims
Hurricane Irma was one of the strongest storms in U.S. history, and unfortunately, the Jacksonville area was one of the hardest-hit regions. Many residents were caught off guard by Hurricane Irma after it shifted from its original course. The storm’s impact on Jacksonville was enormous, with flooding and wind damage destroying many houses and businesses. Hurricane Irma victims now face additional struggles when dealing with homeowners’ insurance companies to recover benefits through the claims process. Insurance companies have the financial incentives to reject or minimize a policyholder’s valid claim. In these circumstances, legal action may be necessary to ensure that losses are covered. The Jacksonville insurance lawyers at The Lawrence Law Group help hurricane victims pursue the benefits that they are entitled to receive following storm damage. Our firm handle each stage of a hurricane claims, including negotiations, settlements, and any litigation, when necessary. If you need legal advice about insurance claims stemming from Hurricane Irma, contact our office today to speak with an attorney.The Impact of Hurricane Irma
According to the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), Hurricane Irma caused over $144 million in damage to private and city property throughout Jacksonville, an amount calculated before factoring in numbers based on private insurance claims. As of October 2017, property insurance claims arising from Hurricane Irma totaled $4.6 billion in estimated losses, according to the Florida Office of Insurance Regulation’s reports. This number will only grow as residents assess the damage. Of claims already resolved, insurance companies have made payments on 103,994, with almost 70,000 policyholders being denied compensation. As of September 21, 2017, over 450,000 claims had been filed throughout Florida, a number that has continued to grow. Compared to Hurricane Matthew, which resulted in 119,345 claims and less than $1.2 billion in losses (still a massive amount), the impact of Irma is already far surpassing Jacksonville’s last major storm.
Insurance policies do not usually apply directly to hurricane damage, but homeowners’ insurance policies do cover wind damage. Separately, flood insurance policies are needed to cover damage from rising waters. According to an Associated Press analysis conducted in early September, there has been a steep decline in the purchase of flood insurance policies in Florida, leaving some residents suffering flood losses with few resources. In Florida, homeowners’ policies do not apply until a deductible is met regarding hurricane damage, which is calculated as a percentage of the total policy’s benefits.
Some policyholders may face an uphill battle to receive benefits at all from insurance companies trying to keep costs low. Companies may subject claimants to unreasonable delays in processing payments, as well as a denial of part or all of a claim. For example, an insurer may argue that damage to a structure existed before the hurricane, or there may be disputes over whether a certain structure is covered by the wording of a policy. A claimant may be challenged to show the specific losses that their business suffered or prove that the damage was caused by flooding rather than wind, or vice versa. To make sure that your insurance claim is handled properly, it is important to take photographs of the damage, keep a written log of inventory lost, and file a claim as quickly as possible. Paying attention to these details can help show the validity of your claim in a situation involving the improper denial of benefits.Contact an Experienced Insurance Attorney in the Jacksonville Area
Hurricane Irma has caused devastation throughout Jacksonville and the surrounding areas, and rebuilding these communities will take years. Making sure that residents receive the insurance benefits that they are due is a high priority for the Jacksonville attorneys at The Lawrence Law Group. We offer zealous legal representation to people in Duval, Clay, Nassau, Flagler, Putnam, St. Johns, Baker, Brevard, Union, Columbia, Suwannee, Hamilton, Jefferson, Volusia, and Alachua Counties. Dealing with big insurance companies can seem overwhelming when trying to rebuild your home and life following a hurricane like Irma. If you need legal assistance in filing or settling an insurance claim related to Hurricane Irma, or in handling a personal injury claim, contact our office today to speak with an attorney about your legal rights and options.