Hermine leaves local man's predicament hanging in the balance

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By: Matt Galka | Capitol News Service
September 20, 2016

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (Capitol News Service) -- Nearing three weeks after Hurricane Hermine swept through the area, insurance claims are another battle for residents.

In at least one unique case, a homeowner finds himself in a bind and asking "if a tree falls in a storm but doesn't hit a house, who claims it?"

"I woke up and there it was," Joe Greiner said.

A tree from his neighbor's yard fell during Hurricane Hermine more than two weeks ago. It broke a fence, and it's now hovering over his home.

"And it's kind of a weird situation as far as the insurance goes," Greiner said.

The neighbor's insurance company told him to call his own provider. His insurance company sent out a claims adjuster but they're not accounting for the tree.

One thing is for sure, paying out of pocket won't be cheap.

Greiner said that after a few estimates, service to get the hanging tree removed would be in the neighborhood of $4,000.

When asked if he's worried about the tree hanging over his house, he said it's been okay for the last two weeks, but there's no telling what the future would bring.

"If another hurricane came through, it would be really bad news, I suppose."

State Officials could ultimately have a role in settling the situation.

The Department of Financial Services handles consumer insurance complaints. They say they've received six complaints so far.

"We will contact the insurance company to see if we can step in to resolve the issue," Denishia Sword of the Department of Financial Services says.

Greiner says that it could be a possibility for him.

"In perfect world, my insurance company pays for the whole thing," He says. "But that's not going to happen."

For now, Greiner just has to wait, as the problem hangs over his head.

Florida's Office of Insurance Regulation says there are still just under 9,500 open insurance claims due to damage from Hurricane Hermine.

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