Property Owners Often Struggle With Insurance Coverage Following Major Hurricanes

Property owners along the East Coast and down south are feeling the impacts from hurricanes Ida is struggling to get claims processed from their insurance companies. Earlier this month, Hurricane Ida ripped through several states in the southeastern U.S., affecting more than 200,000 residents and causing between $60 billion and $200 billion in damages, according to various reports.  Ida made landfall on Aug. 25 near New Orleans, as a Category 4 hurricane before being downgraded to a tropical storm that dumped record-breaking rain over parts of Louisiana, before transforming into a large low-pressure system that dumped historical rain on portions of the Northeast United States.

“I’ve got plenty of time to file for hurricanes while I’m sitting here without electricity,” said George McGovern, who has been waiting about three weeks for his insurer’s adjuster to review his property damage.

Home insurance companies along with water damage restoration companies have been overwhelmed with phone calls from property owners search for help with flooding and damage to their structures.  The number of hurricanes, hurricanes and severe storms this year has already had an impact on home insurance companies. Hurricane Katrina is the most remembered hurricane that hit the Gulf Coast states, causing $80 billion in damages that were split among federal agencies and private insurers. Projections from the flooding alone caused by Ida, could easily top a hundred billion dollars.

            Several insurance companies are taking steps to expedite paperwork for customers who have damage from hurricanes Ida.  State Farm says it is hiring new staff members to handle extra claims coming its way, including contractors whose job it will be to inspect damaged homes.

“There’s not enough adjusters out there (in some areas) to meet the demand,” said State Farm spokeswoman Angie Rinock, adding that claims workers are working long hours with no immediate relief in site. Many insurance companies are coming under fire for how they are handling claims related to the storm and widespread flooding.

            Others complain that insurers offer unfair settlement amounts, and won’t cover extra costs like hotel reservations while their homes are being repaired.  The National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) continues to undergo criticism for its handling of claims related to hurricanes Katrina and Rita, which slammed the Gulf Coast in 2005. Critics say the program is too generous to homeowners who file multiple claims frequently, but other say many property owners don’t know what they’re entitled to receive under federal coverage.

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