Can insurance companies pay claims for Hurricane Ian victims?

TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) — One week after Hurricane Ian hit, tens of thousands of Floridians have property damage and are turning to their insurance companies hoping they’ll pay up.

The state’s insurer of last resort, Citizens Property Insurance Corporation, says it’s projecting to face up to $2.6 billion in losses to Ian. It’s expecting to handle 200,000 claims or more.

But whether you have Citizens or a private company, will they actually be able to pay up? 8 On Your Side Investigator Mahsa Saeidi went to a so-called “insurance village” in Port Charlotte to find out.

The state site, located in the Port Charlotte Town Center on Tamiami Trail, is open daily from 8 am to 6 pm It was created to help storm victims file their insurance claims.

The goal is to help policyholders deal directly with their insurance company, close the claim and walk away with a check. But the question is – will homeowners be able to cash the checks or will they bounce?

Hurricane Ian was the worst-case scenario for Florida’s troubled property insurance market. Even before the storm, the industry was dealing with billions in losses, rampant litigation and fraud. Just this year, six insurers went bankrupt.

8 On Your Side asked Gov. Ron DeSantis and Chief Financial Officer Jimmy Patronis this week if storm victims will get their claims paid out.

“There’s multiple redundancies in the state of Florida,” Patronis said.

“We have taken action to stabilize, and we will do more if we need to,” Gov. DeSantis said. “I mean, I will call another special session.”

State Sen. Jeff Brandes, a Republican from St. Petersburg, spearheaded the push for the first special session to address property insurance in May. Now, he believes there should be another.

In Port Charlotte on Wednesday, Mon. Brandes

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During stop in Jacksonville, Crist discusses plan to take on property insurance crisis in Florida

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Charlie Crist, the Democratic nominee for Florida governor, held a news conference Wednesday in Jacksonville, saying he has tackled property insurance in Florida before and he would do it again as governor.

He said he plans to take on the property insurance crisis impacting thousands of Floridians by reversing rate hikes and expanding coverage. He wants to go back some of the things he did when he was governor of Florida — like bringing back the My Safe Florida Home Program.

Florida’s property insurance market has been in upheaval as insurers have dropped customers and sought huge rate increases because of financial losses. Five property insurers have been declared insolvent since February, and policies have poured into Citizens Property Insurance, which was created by the state as an insurer of last resort.

TELL US: Have you experienced an increase in your property insurance rates, or has your insurance company dropped you altogether?

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While campaigning in Jacksonville, Crist criticized Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis and how he has handled the crisis, saying the governor is more interested in getting to the White House than protecting the Floridians’ homes.

“Gov. DeSantis created a property insurance crisis in Florida,” Crist said.

DeSantis called a special legislative session in May to address problems in the broader insurance system. Lawmakers made a series of changes, including trying to address roof-damage claims that insurers blame for increasing costs, trying to curb litigation costs about claims and creating a $2 billion program to provide additional reinsurance to private insurers.

News4JAX asked Christ what he plans to do differently.

“I called a special session just like Gov. DeSantis did. The difference was Gov. DeSantis had a special session that was really special for the insurance industry. He didn’t lower rates for you and me and

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