UPC Insurance closed with your open claim. Now what?

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Around 135,000 Floridians relied on United Property and Casualty Insurance (UPC) for homeowners’ insurance before it went insolvent in February. What should you expect if you have an open claim?

Barbara Pellegrino’s home in Port Charlotte is finally getting back to normal again. She had some work done on the fence and pool cage in August 2022.

“It was torn down by the end of September,” Pellegrino said. “My fence got torn down. My pool cage got a lot of damage to it. All my stuff that’s in my house got ripped out. My roof got majorly damaged. I got some water damage. I needed some new flooring inside my house.”

The fence is fixed, and the roofers started repairs in mid-March 2023, but not because the insurance company pulled through. She had a policy with UPC about five months after the storm.

Pellegrino paid for most of the work on her own.

“After the adjuster, they came back with giving me $24,000, saying the rest was pre-existing damages,” Pellegrino added.

She did what many Southwest Floridians did: hired a public adjuster, but to no avail.

“Very, very, very stressful. If I didn’t have high blood pressure before, I definitely have it now,” Pellegrino said. “I should have homeowners’ insurance that I paid for 18 years of having my house. Our company is bankrupt. So, where are we getting our money? Who are we turning to?”

That’s where the Florida Insurance Guaranty Association comes in.

“If an insurance company becomes insolvent and becomes liquidated, then our organization takes over the claims and we make sure the claims are paid,” said Corey Neal, Executive Director of FIGA.

You don’t need to reach out to FIGA. According to Neal, you’ll hear from the organization around the first week of April. They use many of the same adjusters as UPC, so some of you won’t have to restart the process.

If UPC sent you a check, but you feel like it’s not enough to get your home back to normal like Pellegrino’s, you can file a supplemental claim.

“We also prioritize what we call ‘hardships.’ They are claims where somebody is displaced from their home because of Hurricane Ian,” Neal said. “We move those up to the front of the line and take care of them first.”

Neal had a message for people worried their homes may not be fixed before the next hurricane season starts.

“We try the best we can,” Neal said. “We’ve got a lot of resources on this particular issue. We try to move them as quickly as we can. It just takes time. We want to make sure it’s a fair settlement.”

If you hired an attorney or public adjuster, FIGA will contact them. FIGA is also responsible for refunding your UPC premium. Keep in mind, FIGA is not just handling UPC claims; around six insurance companies were declared insolvent last year.

WINK News reached out to UPC but did not receive a response.

If you are represented by an attorney, Neal said to reach out to them and ensure they are still representing you. Once a lawyer finds out FIGA has taken over, sometimes they’ll decide not to take on the case anymore.

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