When it comes to helping in the wake of Hurricane Ian, each of us at Associates and Bruce L. Scheiner are committed to doing whatever we can.
For more than 50 years, Bruce L. Scheiner has fought for the rights of Southwest Florida residents. Our large staff of attorneys, paralegals, investigators and support personnel live and work right here in Southwest Florida. We are working shoulder-to-shoulder to help family, neighbors, co-workers and complete strangers with basic needs as we all begin the process of rebuilding our beautiful community, better and stronger.
In addition to organizing assistance efforts and working with organizations in our communities, we have partnered with law firms who focus on property damage claims to help ensure Southwest Floridians get the experienced legal help they need during this trying time. We are here to help devastated homeowners who need assistance with hurricane claims. As areas of Southwest Florida regain power and return to some measure of normalcy, let’s not forget some will be working toward recovery for years, while others will never recover from the devastation wrought by this generational storm.
Please do your part to obey water use notices, detours and other calls for assistance and cooperation.
Hurricane Insurance Help
Now two weeks after the storm, many who have filed a hurricane claim have yet to hear from an adjuster. In some cases, delays are to be expected given the scope of the damage and the task ahead. But the truth of the matter is that Florida’s homeowner’s insurance industry was in bad shape even before this storm. Industry watchers are expecting long delays, payment offers that do not reflect the extent of loss, and even ignored claims.
Four Florida insurance companies filed for bankruptcy this year, prior to the storm, which is now expected to surpass Hurricane Katrina as the most costly storm ever to strike the United States. Others had announced intentions to stop issuing Florida policies as they come up for renewal. Our Fort Myers attorneys know this is not a climate where insurers are always motivated to treat customers right, many of whom have been paying premiums for years without a claim.
Citizens, the state’s insurer of last resort, has seen issued policies increase from just 500,000 two years ago, to more than a million today. A number that is expected to increase to almost two million by next year. Losses for “replacement cost” coverage are limited to $700,000, which is inadequate for some residents with total losses. Lawmakers have talked of raising the limit, but Citizen’s was only able to purchase half as much reinsurance as it wanted for the current year.
Reinsurance will be a critical component of recovery, as these large global companies provide financial backing to insurance companies once their loss reserves are depleted.
In other cases, flood damage claims may be denied unless homeowners have purchased federal flood insurance. However, companies may also attempt to inappropriately deny claims related to water damage from destroyed walls and roofing under flood damage.
Homeowners have specific rights under their policy. But in many cases it will be up to them to assert those rights. Whether seeking legal advice, or help from a reputable general contractor to independently identify the full extent of your losses, seeking professional advice will be critical when it comes to protecting your rights.
For help with catastrophic hurricane claims, call Associates and Bruce L. Scheiner, Attorneys for the Injured, at 1-800-646-1210.