Hurricane season has brought a slew of storms -- most notably Irma -- to Florida lately, wreaking havoc throughout the state. The large amount of loss and damage means insurance companies are receiving a massive number of claims as the aftermath is assessed.
The Florida Bar reminds potential claimants, however, that there are often specific timeline requirements given to the policyholders, so they must be prompt in filing that claim to ensure it is considered. Even with the large influx of claims, though, an insurer's legal obligation in handling them does not change and as long as the claimant meets deadlines, the insurance company must meet theirs.
- Acknowledgement: An insurance company must respond to a claim within two weeks (14 calendar days) of it being received.
- Investigation: An investigation into the homeowner's insurance claim must begin within the initial 10 business days after it is filed. If the client requests, a written confirmation must be given that the investigation has, indeed, begun.
- Decision: A decision to either affirm or deny it must be made within three months (90 days) of the claim. Unless the result is a denied claim, the payout must be made within this time frame, as well.
- Mediation: According to Florida's Division of Consumer Services, a policyholder has the right to mediation to try to work out claim disputes. The insurance company is responsible for the expenses and must send written notice of this right to the claimant.
People should keep documentation of the filing date as well as all other communication with the insurance company to ensure all of the requirements for the handling of a claim are properly met.