More than six months after Hurricane Ian battered southwest Florida, crippling or destroying homes, thousands of residents trying to make repairs have been delayed by severe insurance claims issues.
In fact, of Ian’s 708,255 claims reported to insurers, 143,396, or 20.2%, remain “open and pending,” based on the latest estimates from the Florida Bureau of Insurance Regulation.
And prolonged delays — the terrible storm Ian of September 28, 2022 — have sparked consumer concerns and complaints.
“Many consumers are displaced, living in tents on their properties or living in significantly damaged homes. They cannot begin the repair process and embark on a path to recovery without the insurance benefits they are entitled to,” according to a press release from the Florida Insurance Consumer Advocate (ICA). ) Tasha Carter.
“It is my duty and responsibility to ensure that Florida insurance consumers receive the benefits to which they are entitled under their insurance contract,” Carter wrote in the statement. They do not ask for charity or special privileges. Consumers want their homes to be repaired and recover as quickly as possible.”
Carter sent certain letters to property and casualty insurers this week, outlining “extreme consumer concerns” regarding the handling of Hurricane Ian claims.
These include “extreme delays” after filing a claim more than 6 months ago. Additionally, “multiple consumers were hired, required to submit claim documents multiple times, received unsatisfactory settlement offers, and faced lengthy delays, lack of communication, and other challenges,” according to the release.
To improve the claims process, “Carter requested that a designated liaison be designated within each company to specifically handle Hurricane Ian complaints and claim inquiries from the Insurance Consumer Advocate’s office.”
Also this week, Chief Financial Officer Jimmy Patronis issued a directive that a consumer advocate, Carter in this case, would be appointed and serve as Hurricane Ian Recovery Director.
The complaints and delays in insurance claims from Ian come at a time when former President Donald Trump has been criticizing Gov. Ron DeSantis — who is considering a 2024 presidential run — on a variety of topics. (Trump, the presidential candidate, likely continued the attacks even after he pleaded not guilty to 34 felony counts in New York state related to silent payments to an adult movie star.)
Regarding insurance, DeSantis and Trump, Gary Fineout writes at POLITICO:
Florida lawmakers want to “hammer” the “bad actors” in the property insurance industry, and they are moving quickly to send a new legislative proposal to Gov. Ron DeSantis.
The payment comes just three weeks after former President Donald Trump accused DeSantis of bailing out the politically powerful industry and said the governor had “crushed homeowners” in the aftermath of Hurricane Ian…
Trump — who has been swinging at DeSantis as the Republican considers running for president — stormed out to the governor last month over the issues, saying on a social media post that ‘RINO Ron DeSanctimonious offers the largest insurance cost to Globalist Insurance Companies, in HISTORY.’
He also crushed the homeowners whose homes were destroyed in the hurricane, Trump wrote. They get pennies on the dollar. … This is the worst insurance scam in the entire country! writes Fine Out.
Meanwhile, consumers should continue to file complaints through the FSA’s Division of Consumer Services online complaints portal @ https://apps.fldfs.com/ESERVICE/Default.aspx.