Homeowner Relief

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Florida’s top officials say they don’t want any more excuses from insurance companies that haven’t processed claims from hurricane victims. The governor and Cabinet imposed an emergency rule Tuesday calling for tough new deadlines on insurance companies.

A full month has passed since the last of four hurricanes slammed into Florida, but thousands of insurance customers are still waiting for their adjuster to show up.

Florida Chief Financial Officer Tom Gallagher says he’s gotten 7,800 complaints.

Gallagher says, “People pay their money, and a lot of money, for insurance and they expect someone to come handle their claim.”

At Gallagher’s request, the governor and Cabinet passed an emergency rule that imposes a 30-day deadline for insurance companies to settle hurricane claims, but with more than a million claims already in the works, Sam Miller of the Florida Insurance Council says the problem is not as bad as it seems.

Miller says, “I would just point out that there are only less than 8,000 complaints of ‘where’s my adjuster’, so we have 8,000 folks we need to focus on, but apparently we’ve already done 1.299 million.”

Gov. Jeb Bush is also concerned that even people who didn’t have hurricane claims could get caught up in the aftermath. Another emergency rule prevents insurers from dropping anyone before the end of November, but then all bets are off.

Gov. Jeb Bush says, “This is a period of time where my guess is the insurance market is really fragile and some of the companies that have taken huge hits may want to evacuate Florida, and I don’t want that to happen.”

The governor says lawmakers will have to strike a balance between being fair to insurers and protecting customers when they tackle new insurance rules in a December special session.

Insurance companies have until November 22 to settle claims for Bonnie, Charley or Frances that were filed by October 21. Ivan or Jeanne claims filed by November 8 have a December 8 deadline for settlement.