Billions in Hurricane Irene damage may cause you to be paid unfairly on your property damage claim. Here's why and what you should do now!
Hurricane Irene tore through 12 eastern states from the Carolinas to Maine, causing at least 56 deaths, pounding beachfront properties, destroying homes, washing out roads and creating massive tree damage and power outage.
The hurricane made landfall over eastern North Carolina's Outer Banks on the morning of August 27, 2011. After landfall the highest wind speed of 92.2 mph was captured at Fort Macon, North Carolina. The hurricane moving on a southeastern path, next ravaged Virginia's Hampton Roads region.
Then moving north and briefly reemerging over water, Irene made a second landfall on the morning of August 28, near Little Egg Inlet, New Jersey.
Risk Management Solutions estimates $2.5 to $5.5 billion in damage in the U.S. and Caribbean, with 85% attributed to residential losses. This estimate models losses from automobile, commercial and residential lines of business. It excludes inland flood losses from heavy rainfall and all National Flood Insurance Program losses from surge and rain.
RMS's estimate falls in the middle of its two main competitors, Eqecat and AIR Worldwide. Eqecat estimates the loss at $1.8 billion to $3.4 billion. AIR estimates the loss at $3.5 billion to $7.1 billion.
State Farm reports receiving by September 9, 2011 a total of 63,495 home and 7,370 auto damage claims. The breakdown by State on these claims is as follows:
Other major insurance companies likely have similar numbers of claims they are processing.
What do these Hurricane Irene damage
facts mean to you?
When thousands of claims hit an insurance company, all within just a few days after a major storm event, chaos often ensues.
After every hurricane thousands of victims find themselves treated unfairly by the insurance company they before trusted. This happens because insurance companies typically do everything they can to maximize their profits, not your protection.
Multiple adjusters, delays, unfair denials, lies, and offers of payment far below actual damage are typical.
It is not unusual for insurance company adjusters to overlook massive amounts of hidden damage. It doesn't matter if this happens on purpose, or because of inexperience and lack of training. The end result is the same. The property owner is left poorer, and the insurance company unfairly enriched.
Frequently claims are paid tens of thousands below the amount of actual damage.
On your Hurricane Irene insurance claim,
here are a few critical steps you should take
now to help avoid these problems.
As soon as possible after the storm take whatever reasonable steps you can to mitigate further damage. Keep receipts of emergency repairs and any costs you incur for temporary living expense.
Report your claim as quickly as possible to your insurance company.
Locate your insurance policy and make sure you file it in a safe place. If you have lost it, then contact your insurance company and request a replacement copy.
After reporting your claim make a written note of the date reported and the claim number assigned by your insurance company.
Immediately start a notebook documenting the dates and specific details of every conversation you have with your insurance company and adjuster. This information is vital in case you need to file a complaint later.
If you don't already have one then make an inventory of your possessions. Make sure you photograph all the damage to your property.
The terms and conditions of your insurance policy may be very difficult for you to understand. You may not have been adequately informed of limitations included in the policy. Your insurance company may act unprofessionally, delay, deny or estimate your claim to low.
If you experience any of these unfair acts then you should remember the law protects you. Your insurance company received money from you in exchange for their promise to protect you after a disaster.
Many thousands of victims before you have found the easiest, quickest and best way to get all the money deserved is to turn the entire settlement process over to a law firm with experience in settling insurance disputes.
Often tens of thousands more is paid on a claim when it is being professionally worked through the settlement process by a lawyer who understands insurance law and the many tactics used by insurance companies to pay a little as possible, as late as possible.
Critical questions you should ask any lawyer
you speak with are:
How many property damage insurance disputes have you successfully handled before mine?
How does your process work to end my frustration and take the burden off my shoulders. How much money and how quickly will you be able to resolve my problems.
How many written testimonials do you have from others happy with the results you achieved in solving their insurance problems? Are these testimonials published on your web site?
Do you work only a contingency fee basis? Do you only receive a legal fee if you successfully resolve my problems? Is the fee you receive paid "on top" of all my damage, so I get to keep in my pocket all the money paid by my insurance company for my property damage?
Be vigilant with your interview questions. It is important to know many law firms do not have this type of experience, or work in a way that eliminates all cash flow risk to you.