State Increases Irma Insurance Loss Estimate To $8.6 Billion

Florida –  Update: Pointing to “human error,” the Florida Office of Insurance Regulation on Thursday increased its latest property-loss estimate from Hurricane Irma by more than $1.2 billion. The new number is $8.6 billion from the September storm.

When updating the number of claims reported by private insurance companies last Friday, the office had posted the estimated losses at $7.38 billion, a drop of more than $600 million from a February estimate.

Department spokeswoman Karen Kees, who called the number in the initial post a “human error,” noted that some information from private insurers had initially been placed in an incorrect column. The state agency doesn’t release data by individual insurance companies, asserting protection of trade secrets.

Thursday’s update didn’t alter the overall statewide number of 924,439 claims that had been posted last Friday. Insurance companies have closed 90.1 percent of residential claims but just 58.2 percent of commercial-property claims. Across the state, more than 20,000 claims had been filed in 15 different counties, topped by 120,921 in Miami-Dade, 77,434 in Collier, 77,039 in Broward, 73,314 in Lee and 71,572 in Orange.

Earlier Reporting:

New insurance-loss estimates from Hurricane Irma total nearly $7.38 billion, down more than $600 million from a February estimate as claims continue to be filed and closed, according to information posted by the state Office of Insurance Regulation.

The vast majority of claims involve residential property, with most in southern parts of the state. Irma barreled up the peninsula after making landfall Sept. 10 in Cudjoe Key, less than 30 miles northeast of Key West, and making a second landfall in Collier County.

More than 56 percent of claims have been closed with some payment. Another 32 percent were closed without money changing hands, often because damage totals fell below hurricane deductibles. The state doesn’t release figures for individual companies.

State-backed Citizens Property Insurance this month noted that it was revisiting about one-third of its 66,761 claims from the storm. Reopened claims include properties with extensive damage, disputed claims and those in which contractors have not provided estimates for repairs. Citizens had closed about 90 percent of its claims from the September storm and had made payments on about 54 percent of the closed claims. The company has incurred losses — paid plus reserves — of $845 million. Citizens officials in September anticipated its claims reaching $1.2 billion.

The overall number of claims statewide had reached 924,439 as of Friday, according to the new report. Overall, insurance companies had closed 90.1 percent of residential claims but just 58.2 percent of commercial-property claims. Across the state, more than 20,000 claims had been filed in 15 different counties, topped by 120,921 in Miami-Dade, 77,434 in Collier, 77,039 in Broward, 73,314 in Lee and 71,572 in Orange.

Photo courtesy Trong Nguyen and Shutterstock.com.

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