Navigating Your Hurricane Irma Insurance Claim

(Image: Miami-Dade County Emergency Management via Twitter)

It’s been over a month since Hurricane Irma devastated Florida. Have you seen a claims adjuster? Is your property restored to your satisfaction?

We sat down with Russel Lazega from Florida Advocates to find out what’s happening on the insurance claims front.

(Image: Miami-Dade County Emergency Management via Twitter)

What’s the status on clean up and repairs?

The main new thing that we are seeing now is that the cleanup is under way and the work has started. Many people are still waiting to hear back from their insurers regarding payment of their claims or even, in some cases, getting the insurer to come out for the initial inspection.  Insurers are backed up and short-handed because of multiple storms but no one should be waiting 30 days to see an adjuster.

When will my claim be paid?

Make sure your claim report and proof of loss form are submitted to the insurance company.  Once those are in, the insurance company, by law, typically has a maximum of 90 days to pay the claim or they can be sued. In addition, the insurance company can be liable for interest and attorney’s fees on top of the claim, if they are wrong.

My insurance company is dragging their feet. What should I do?

Because an insurer can be liable for penalties and attorney’s fees, if it is overdue on the claim an attorney may speed things along.

Most insurance attorneys will represent you without charging anything up front Many will work on a contingency where they get paid a percentage (usually 1/3) of your recovery. And, in many cases, the attorney will not even charge you any percentage of your recovery if they are confident that they can recover the fees as a penalty from the insurance company if they win.

Russel Lazega is a leading insurance litigation attorney whose firm, Florida Advocates, specializes in insurance litigation and literally writes several of Florida’s leading legal texts on Insurance Law. Florida Advocates has successfully handled well over twenty-five thousand insurance cases and appeals throughout Florida.

Mr. Lazega is rated AV © by Martindale Hubble (the publication’s highest rating for skill and professionalism Additionally, Mr. Lazega is a past-president of the North Dade Bar Association, the incoming president of the South Broward Bar Association and lectures across the country on insurance issues.