One Year After Hurricane Michael: FL Homeowners Struggle To Recover

If you live in Florida, sooner or later a hurricane or tropical storm will hit, and damages to your property are inevitable. Some insurance companies may try to wear you out, but don’t give up. As of last month, over 18,000 Hurricane Michael claims were still open – 12 percent of all storm damage claims.  

Former Florida House Speaker Allan Bense says some insurance companies aren’t very helpful.  Office of Insurance Regulation Commissioner David Altmaier defends the insurers as he believes there was no violation of the law. Meanwhile, 20,000 claims are unpaid. Lawmakers will need to pass additional laws long-awaited by both ensurees and insurers.

Hurricane survivors should not feel left behind. It’s already devastating losing everything. We continue to hear stories of customers and their frustrations. Something is going on with these claims that need further investigation. These insurance companies are mishandling the claim process, and no customer should have to go through that.

Executive director of the Florida Property & Casualty William Stander Association says public adjusters are partly to blame for the unresolved claims an all the confusion. They are hired by homeowners to come up with independent damage estimates, which at times aren’t accurate. So far, the most challenging claims are those that include flood damage or under the control of the public adjuster.

The situation is quite frustrating. It’s not about picking on insurance companies but trying to help people that are having a hard time. Michael blew away homes and businesses in Florida with winds speeds of over 150 mph. There is a $25 billion of damage all over the country and 59 deaths.  About 1,200 people living in the Florida Panhandle prior to the storm. Currently, there are only 400. Close to Panama City, hundreds are still living in trailer parks – over 2,400 school kids evacuated or homeless. Tyndall Air Force Base has devoted over $700 million to repairs and there is still much left to do.

Many people have lost their homes and have no place to live. To make matters worse, the rent has gone high for everyone. There is a long way to go. Prior to hurricane Michael, there were 2,700 units In Mexico Beach. At present, there are only 500 left, which are barely livable. There are no homes to live in and you may end up eating in a food truck on a daily basis rather than a restaurant.

Amid the destruction, there is still hope. Some people have opened their backyards to hundreds of storm survivors since it’s way too expensive to stay at a hotel. These people were stable before the hurricane, and now barely trying to survive. Despite the challenges, the cities affected by Michael hope to recover, and that people will come back to live there again.  Getting the funds in the hands of homeowners as well as business owners is vital to rebuilding.