According to news reports, the total losses resulting from Hurricane Michael are expected to exceed $4 billion. In fact, since this figure solely represents the cost to agriculture businesses in Florida and Georgia (and their insurance companies), the aggregate financial impact of Hurricane Michael is likely to be far more substantial. One source, the Claims Journal, has estimated the total losses from Hurricane Michael as high as $25 billion.
When Hurricane Michael made landfall in Florida on October 10, 2018, it was the third-strongest Atlantic hurricane to do so in United States history. At its peak, Hurricane Michael punished Florida’s coast with intense rains and winds of up to 155 miles per hour. As it continued north, the storm destroyed numerous homes and businesses, and it left many people struggling to understand how they will ever be able to put the pieces back together.
Insurance Coverage for Property Damage from Hurricane Michael
For many homeowners and business owners affected by Hurricane Michael, the recovery process will involve filing a claim with their insurance company. But, unfortunately, not all losses will be covered, and homeowners and business owners alike can expect to face significant hurdles during the claims process. Estimating the total cost of Hurricane Michael losses to private insurance carries at about $8 billion (not including insured losses covered by the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP)), Bloomberg.com reported:
“Most of the damage [from Hurricane Michael] came from strong wind speeds and the storm surge depths ranged from 9 to 14 feet along the most impacted area of the cost. . . . Storm surge caused $3.7 billion in total damages [but only] about 10 percent of that figure is insured.”
After a major hurricane, it is not unusual for homeowners and business owners to face certain challenges in securing insurance funds to rebuild. But, while insurance companies are well within their rights to dispute claims (and even deny coverage) in good faith, they cannot refuse to provide policyholders with the coverage for which they have paid. Although certain delays are to be expected when insurance companies suddenly have billions of dollars’ worth of claims to process due to a widespread catastrophic event, insurance companies must also have mechanisms in place to process their policyholders’ claims as efficiently and fairly as possible.
Regardless of Hurricane Michael’s true total economic impact, the reality is that many homeowners and business owners are facing a long and difficult road ahead. While the insurance companies should do their part to help, some unfortunately will not, and some insureds may need to take legal action in order to enforce their right to coverage.
Do You Have an Insurance Claim in Florida After Hurricane Michael?
If your Florida home or business was damaged during Hurricane Michael and you need help dealing with your insurance company, our Fort Lauderdale property damage lawyers can help. To discuss your claim in confidence, please call (954) 767-6333 or request a confidential initial consultation online today.