Fla. CFO Requests Deadlines Be Set for Insurers to Handle Storm Claims

October 21, 2004

Florida’s Chief Financial Officer Tom Gallagher on Thursday asked state regulators to develop an emergency rule directing insurance companies to speed up their efforts to resolve hurricane claims, and setting specific deadlines for companies and their adjusters to evaluate damage and start the claims process.

Gallagher said the rule should be brought to the Governor and Cabinet next Tuesday, Oct. 26, for approval.

Gallagher said firm deadlines are necessary based on numerous calls to the department’s hurricane hotline from storm victims who have yet to reportedly see an adjuster or are waiting for an adjuster to return to do a damage assessment.

“One of our top complaints continues to be delays working with a claims adjuster,” said Gallagher, who oversees the Florida Department of Financial Services. “Setting deadlines will help thousands of Floridians who are still waiting to start the claims process.”

Gallagher has asked the Office of Insurance Regulation to develop a rule that would require insurance companies to take the following actions for consumers who have filed claims:

* Advance funds to all storm victims entitled to additional living expenses.
* Send adjusters to evaluate and assess damage.
* Make a settlement offer and work to resolve all claims.

“I have been out working to help storm victims recover from these back-to-back catastrophes. We are listening to their concerns and we understand that getting their insurance check is a necessary first step toward rebuilding their homes and their lives,” said Gallagher.

Gallagher said a similar rule was implemented two months after Hurricane Andrew made landfall in 1992.

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