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Governor, Cabinet Impose Deadlines for Insurance Companies to Handle Claims

10/26/2004

CONTACT: Tami Torres
(850) 413-2842
 
TALLAHASSEE—Governor Jeb Bush and members of Florida's Cabinet today approved an emergency rule placing deadlines for insurance companies to assess damage and work toward a claims settlement.  Florida's Chief Financial Officer Tom Gallagher, who serves as a member of the state cabinet, commended his fellow members for taking steps to protect Florida's insurance consumers.  
 
"Floridians who responsibly purchase insurance and pay premiums expect service," said Gallagher. "Firm deadlines will give thousands of Floridians peace of mind in getting their storm claims handled and set a goal that insurance companies must meet."
 
Gallagher requested the emergency rule in response to numerous calls to the department's hurricane hotline at 1-800-22-STORM from storm victims who have yet to see an adjuster or are waiting for an adjuster to return to do a damage assessment.
 
The emergency rule sets strict timeframes for insurance companies to make initial damage assessments and work toward a settlement, including paying additional living expenses to Floridians unable to remain in their homes due to storm damage:
§ For claims filed by October 21 as a result of Tropical Storm Bonnie, Hurricane Charley or Hurricane Frances, the deadline is November 22.
§ For claims filed by November 8 as result of Hurricane Ivan or Hurricane Jeanne, the deadline is December 8.
According to Gallagher, insurance companies who fail to meet the deadlines face an administrative penalty of $2,500 per day.
 
Currently, insured losses due to the four back-to-back hurricanes have been estimated at $17.1 billion collectively.  More than 1.3 million claims have been filed to date.