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Governor and Cabinet Approve Rule to Expedite Payment of Outstanding Hurricane Claims

3/17/2005

CONTACTO:
Tami Torres o Bob Lotane
850-413-2842

Cabinet Sets One Month Deadline for Payment of Insured Losses
 
TALLAHASSEE – In response to a call by the Florida's Chief Financial Officer Tom Gallagher, the governor and Cabinet approved an emergency rule today to expedite the resolution of open claims from last year's tropical storm and four hurricanes. 
 
"It's been over six months since these storms devastated our state," said Gallagher, who serves as one of the members of the Florida Cabinet.  "Floridians, who responsibly paid their premiums on time expect these claims to be settled and paid so they can start to rebuild their homes.  We expect insurance companies to step up to the plate and resolve their outstanding claims.  The measure we approve today will help hold insurers' feet to the fire."
 
Gallagher has held three of five scheduled hurricane recovery town hall meetings around the state, where over two thousand people have expressed frustration with their insurance companies and in many cases have requested assistance.  To date, the Department of Financial Services has received over 300,000 phone calls and has handled over 53,000 complaints.  More than 10,000 complaints are still unresolved.  In response to storm victims' frustration, Gallagher called for the emergency rule to protect the economic health and welfare of the state and to assist Floridians still working to get their homes and their lives back to normal. 
 
Según la norma de emergencia, las aseguradoras deben resolver y pagar todas las reclamaciones residenciales personales y reclamaciones residenciales comerciales pendientes que resultaron de los Huracanes Charley, Frances, Ivan o Jeanne y la Tormenta Tropical Bonnie a más tardar el 18 de abril de 2005.  Las reclamaciones que no se resuelven y pagan para esa fecha se deben informar a la Oficina de Regulación de Seguros de la Florida para el 28 de abril 2005.  El informe debe contener el nombre del titular de la póliza, el número de póliza y de reclamación, y una explicación detallada de los motivos por los cuales no se han resuelto y pagado las reclamaciones. 
 
La regla exige que las reclamaciones pendientes sean resueltas dentro de los próximos 30 días a menos que la reclamación se esté litigando, esté a la espera de mediación, o se haya iniciado recientemente y los cálculos por pérdidas no se hayan recibido.  There have been over 1.6 million claims filed from last year's hurricanes; approximately 91 percent of them have been closed, according to data compiled by the Office of Insurance Regulation.