Irma Claims Approach $5 Billion Mark, but Numbers Appear to be Leveling off

by | Oct 19, 2017

Nearly six weeks after Hurricane Irma plowed across the Keys and up Florida’s west coast, insurance claims filed in the state have almost reached the $5 billion mark.

The Florida Office of Insurance Regulation reports 747,534 claims have been reported totaling $4.94 billion.

There has been a steady stream of claims that have been reported since Irma made landfall on Sept. 10. Florida saw $2 billion of reported claims in the first week following the storm.

Some insurance industry officials say the numbers now appear to be leveling off.

“Yes, claims are leveling off now that people have been returning to their damaged property and have begun the claims process,” said Lynne McChristian, the catastrophe response director for the Insurance Information Institute. “The numbers will still go higher in the weeks ahead, particularly because we still have a month and a half left of hurricane season and with continued storms, damage may be revealed with each new weather event.”

Florida’s insurance commissioner isn’t quite ready to go that far and say claims are tapering off. But he says there have been no surprises.

“I think it’s a little early to tell. I think from my personal perspective,” said Commissioner David Altmaier. “I haven’t seen any surprises at this point in time. I don’t think we’ve necessarily seen more than we expected or less than we expected. I do think we’ve got some time to go before we can zero in on what the precise impact is going to be.”

Of the nearly 748,000 claims filed, 66 percent are for homeowners policies.

Miami-Dade continues to have the most claims filed with 13 percent of the total number. Broward and Orange follow at 8 percent each, with Collier and Lee tied with 7 percent.

“What we had in this event, what we’re hearing is that we had a lot of claims that aren’t costing a whole lot,” Altmaier added. “It’s on an individual basis, but that’s still going to add up for the carriers.”

Altmaier says some insurers will have to tap into the state’s Catastrophe Fund to help cover their losses. But, he says that’s why the fund was created–to act as a reinsurance fund for companies in catastrophic events. The fund currently has $17 billion to help insurers cover losses.



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