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Irma causes agency to take emergency action on insurance

For homeowners in Florida, dealing with damage from a hurricane is one of their biggest fears. Even those whose homes sustained only minor damage can still face major headaches. Having insurance is vital but going through the claims process can be difficult and frustrating.

In an effort to help alleviate some of the anticipated administrative difficulties that follow a major hurricane, the state of Florida recently issued an emergency order. The order aims to protect the interests of policyholders in a number of ways. For one, insurance companies are barred from not renewing or canceling homeowners' policies for 90 days. Notices of cancellation already issued after August 25 are withdrawn and shall be reissued after October 15.

The policies of property owners who file a claim for damage are protected from cancellation for 90 days from when repairs are completed. In addition, insurance companies are not allowed to raise the premiums for policyholders and homeowners have been allotted extra time to provide claims information to their insurer. The order also instructs insurance companies to make the claims process as efficient as possible. Governor Rick Scott directed that the order be issued and it was, through the office of the Insurance Commissioner.

Insurance companies are supposed to respect the rights of their clients but the fact is that they do not always get it right, especially when dealing with a high volume of claims thanks to a hurricane. People whose homes have been damaged due to a storm may wish to contact an experienced attorney.

Source: Insurance Journal, "Florida Insurance Regulator Issues Irma-Related Emergency Order," Sept. 14, 2017

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