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Ian-related insurance claims near half a billion; state blocks insurers from cancelling policies through Nov. 28

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Ian-related insurance claims near half a billion; state blocks insurers from cancelling policies through Nov. 28

Oct 01, 2022 | 11:56 am ET
By Michael Moline
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Ian-related insurance claims near half a billion; state blocks insurers from cancelling policies through Nov. 28
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Damaged signpost from Hurricane Ian in North Port, Fla. Sept. 30, 2022. Photo taken by Mitch Perry.

Property owners in Florida have so far filed claims worth $473,828,401 since Hurricane Ian struck Southwest Florida on Wednesday, according to preliminary figures released by the Florida Office of Insurance Regulation.

The agency reported 62,047 individual claims, according to numbers issued Friday evening.

“This aggregate information is compiled from claims data filed by insurers, it has not been audited or independently verified,” OIR said.

Those are preliminary numbers; the agency has ordered insurers to provide daily updates on claims and their estimated value.

Before Ian hit, the insurance data analysis firm CoreLogic, estimated the replacement value of property likely to be damaged by storm surge at $258.3 billion, as the Phoenix has reported. Most flood-related claims would be filed with the Federal Flood Insurance Program. Wind claims would flow state-regulated through residential and commercial wind-damage policies.

Insurance Commissioner David Altmeier has issued an emergency order barring insurers from cancelling or refusing to renew any property insurance policy.

State law provides that, when a governor issues a state of emergency, the OIR become authorized to block any insurer from cancelling or refusing to renew a policy through Nov. 28. The order establishes a grace period delaying policyholders’ obligation to provide information or payments under their policies.

Additionally, “all notices of cancellation issued or mailed within ten (10) calendar days preceding Sept. 28, 2022, affecting a Floridian, shall be withdrawn and reissued to insureds on or after November 28, 2022,” the order says.

The order doesn’t invalidate any cancellations or nonrenewals scheduled to take place during the grace period, but insurers must delay acting on them during that time.

”The premium for the extended term of coverage shall be the appropriate pro rata portion of the premium for the entire term of the policy,” it says.

The grace period also applies to life and health policies except those issued under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, or Obamacare.

“Given the strength and size of Hurricane Ian, its expected catastrophic effect on Florida, and its potential impact on hundreds of thousands of policyholders, the office expects all insurers and regulated entities to implement processes and procedures to facilitate the efficient payment of claims,” the order says.

“This includes critically analyzing current procedures and streamlining claim payment processes as well as using the latest technological advances to provide prompt and efficient claims service to policyholders.”