Tens of thousands of people still have open Hurricane Ian claims and with Hurricane Idalia on the way, they may be in for more insurance problems.
“Well, It’s always in the back of your mind when another storm’s coming,” said Cape Coral homeowner Christine Girard.
“If it still keeps raining, the house is going to be totally destroyed,” added Englewood animal sanctuary owner Iris Beaugrand.
“We’re getting downpours now,” Cape Coral homeowner Mark Crickmore said. “I’m thinking, ‘what’s next?'”
June data from the Florida Office of Insurance Regulation shows there are still 67,684 open Hurricane Ian homeowners insurance claims, with and without payment. That means some of those homes may experience even more damage not even a year after Ian.
Mark Friedlander with the Insurance Information Institute said any new damage brought by Idalia means a new claim with the insurer, even it it made Ian damage worse.
“It’s not an ‘add-on’ to your existing claim,” Friedlander added. “No matter what the condition is of your home, what the status of your claim from Ian last year, this is a new storm. It’s a new event, completely new event, regardless of the condition of your home today.”
Friedlander advises everyone to take pictures and document the condition of your home just like Southwest Florida did before Hurricane Ian in 2022. Keep the records of your Ian damages and repairs handy.
“So that you could very clearly show this is what the condition of my home was, before the new hurricane struck the area and show it wasn’t complete yet. You still had a tarp on your roof, you still had other repairs that are in motion. You want to make sure that’s carefully documented,” Friedlander said.
What about homeowners who originally had United Property and Casualty (UPC) as their insurer and are struggling to obtain insurance since their homes are not fixed yet? Who would be responsible for paying out a new claim? WINK News Consumer Reporter Andryanna Sheppard reached out to the Florida Office of Insurance Regulation to get that answer. A spokesperson didn’t directly answer her question. Instead they gave her tips on filing insurance claims. She followed up and asked that questions again. The OIR has not responded.
If you need any help filing another claim, the Florida Department of Financial Services (DFS) has the Insurance Consumer Helpline. It will be open from 8am-4:30pm starting Friday, September 1st. The number is 1-877-MY-FL-CFO.
According to DFS, the Division of Agent and Agency Services (A&A) has activated the Florida’s emergency adjuster system to allow licensed out-of-state adjusters to help you in adjusting insurance claims following the storm. Plus, the Division of Investigative and Forensic Services (DIFS) has activated it’s Emergency Operations Center to coordinate insurance consumer protection and fraud prevention missions following the storm.