For those of us living in areas impacted by the September storms, the effects from Hurricanes Harvey and Irma were stressful and disruptive for both our personal lives and our businesses.
Thankfully for Floridians, the property damage from Irma was not as extensive as projected and certainly not at all comparable to what was experienced by our Texas neighbors with Hurricane Harvey. However, working through the claims, even the small ones, has been a frustrating experience for many home and business owners.
The main issue with “community” disasters such as Hurricanes is the mere scope of the area and the number of people affected.
For an Insurance Company, handling a fire or leaking water heater is a pretty simple process. Send out the adjuster, secure estimates, and issue payment. Handling a storm that damages the east coast or skirts a few counties is more demanding.
By comparison, responding to claims that span from Key West to Jacksonville and include damages on both coasts and all inland communities is a tremendous challenge. Hurricane Irma was huge and overwhelming for the insurance industry…especially on the heels of Hurricane Harvey and its impact on Texas.
With all insurance claims, I would recommend the two “P’s.” These would be Patience and Persistence. Sounds contradictory, but it’s not.
Patience because adjusters are working 16 to 18-hour days and none of the customers affected are really “happy.” As a Homeowner, I know I’m not. We’re all looking at rather stout deductibles and out of pocket expenses… not to mention the question of “when” we can get a roofer, screen, or fence repair person scheduled.
Persistence because you need to be heard… and Insurance Adjusters, however overworked and well-intentioned, need to be pushed and prodded along. It is truly the time to find out what kind of coverage you have…gauge the responsiveness of your carrier, and work to improve it next year by spending a little more premium on those “enhancements” that were not needed during the 10-year storm drought.
It is also a time to gauge your Agent. They should be helping you through the process. Granted, they do not have the Insurance Company checkbook for settlement… but your Agent should be a strong advocate for you and assist with the process.
On behalf of our industry, we thank you for your Patience. We appreciate and understand your Persistence and look forward to a resolution of all claims in a fair and mutually satisfactory manner.