Hurricane Michael, a Category 5 storm, made landfall in the Florida Panhandle just over 1 year ago. In 2017, Hurricane Irma wreaked havoc across the state, and in 2016, a storm surge from Hurricane Matthew caused flooding, high winds, and power failures along the Florida coast.
While it’s been at least a year since the state’s last major hurricane, Florida was hit with 3 hurricanes in 3 years, and some insured homeowners are still without roofs and restoration.
Although the devastation from Hurricane Michael is most recent, insurance claims are still pending from the 2-year-old Hurricane Irma and the 3-year-old Hurricane Matthew.
Mexico Beach: 1 Year Later
On October 10, 2018, Hurricane Michael made landfall at the Tyndall Air Force Base before ripping through the nearby town of Mexico Beach. During the storm, nearly 75% of the city was destroyed, a total of 1,584 buildings were damaged, and 809 of them were deemed destroyed. County-wide, over 45,000 structures were affected. In total, the storm caused $25 billion worth of damage.
One year later, Highway 98 remains closed, the town is peppered with empty slabs of land, the city’s famous pier is nowhere to be found, and there are no sit-down restaurants or gas stations. Construction workers are struggling to find housing as they rebuild, and homeowners are homeowners no more, unable to rebuild with delayed insurance payouts.
As of July 2019, at least 15% of insurance claims from Hurricane Michael are outstanding. On a human level, this means 21,000 homeowners on standby. Per Florida law, their claims should have been paid before 2018 ended, or within 90 days of filing.
Some Mexico Beach residents are taking matters into their own hands and hiring attorneys to help with the claims process.
If you’re interested in doing the same, contact The Knoerr Law Group today!
Hiring an attorney may be a good option even if your claim is “closed,” as insurance adjusters are notorious for underpaying claims during emergencies. One Florida family, for example, was offered a mere $16,000 to repair their home after Hurricane Michael. When they recruited a lawyer and a public adjuster, they found that rebuilding their home would cost upwards of $400,000. They are still battling with their insurance companies, which they retained with yearly premiums of about $2,600.
The couple in question is not alone. Residents across the Panhandle are complaining of “unanswered calls and payments that are too small or too slow.” Many of them are living in mobile homes on their properties, wondering “why [they] pay premiums,” and if they’ll ever “live in a house again.”
A Solvable Problem
According to Attorney Linda M. Knoerr, carriers can absolutely afford to support the homeowners they insure. “If the carriers properly adjusted the losses and paid the claims,” she says, “there would be no need for attorneys or public adjusters…”
Knoerr goes on to explain:
“but because the insurance companies consistently underpay, delay, or deny claims, we have no choice but to move forward and advocate on behalf of policyholders.”
If you need experienced legal representation throughout your insurance claim, call The Knoerr Law Group at (954) 289-5655 today.