How Will Florida's Insurance Industry Weather Hurricane Claims?

The industry also says it can handle a third storm, but the problem will be getting enough adjusters to do the hands on work of getting cash in people’s hands.

Homeowners with damage may face a lengthy wait; two weeks or more before they ever see a claims adjuster. Insurance agents say first Charley, now Frances, has severely strained industry resources.

Jeff Grady of the Florida Insurance Agents Association says, “They need to be aware that it’s going to be a little processing these claims along with the aftermath of Charley."

Chief Financial Officer Tom Gallagher says the industry is financially sound and has the cash to pay claims from the back-to-back storms, and a third storm if necessary, but he is also calling for patience.

Tom Gallagher says, "They will get some money out to people for additional living expenses and things like that, but it’s going to take them a while to get there and get their full property adjusted and to get the check that they need to do a total rebuild."

Industry and state claims centers will be set up in Publix parking lots to speed emergency living expense checks into people’s hands, but there just aren’t enough adjusters to go around.

Sam Miller with the Florida Insurance Council says, “We are bringing in thousands of additional adjusters that we probably will have more adjusters working at one time in a state than any state since Hurricane Andrew."

State officials here in the Capitol are starting to feel the heat from folks who got hit by both storms and face a double deductible. They are starting to talk to the federal government about public assistance.

The negotiations are not a done deal and there may be no relief for those who have been dealt a double whammy. State insurance officials will be conducting a statewide
fly-over Wednesday to get a firsthand look at the damage done by Frances, then they’ll try to come up with an official estimate for the damages.