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Harvey And Irma Cause Shortage Of Insurance Adjusters

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Hurricane Irma has left a path of destruction in its wake and resulted in a major headache for insurance companies as they grapple with a severe scarcity of insurance adjusters in Florida.

Many of Florida's insurance adjusters are currently working on claims made as a result of Hurricane Harvey, which hit Texas just two weeks before Irma hit Florida.

The biggest worry for insurance companies is that damage to buildings from the impact of Irma could worsen due to the delays in handling claims. In addition, angry homeowners could resort to litigation due to the delays.

Florida's home-insurance market relies heavily on small and mid-size insurers after brand-name national insurers scaled back their presence in the state in order to reduce their exposure to hurricanes.

In addition, many insurance adjusters have left the industry during the decade after 2005, when no hurricane made landfall in Florida.

The small insurers in Florida do not have their own adjusters and instead, depend on independent adjusters to handle insurance claims. The demand for independent catastrophe claims adjusters in Florida has increased as a result.

Damages from Irma are expected to be large enough to put the hurricane in the league of the most expensive hurricanes ever in the U.S. Last week, catastrophe-risk modeling from Karen Clark & Co. estimated Irma-related damage in the U.S. at $18 billion.

Insurance companies are now luring independent insurance adjusters to Florida by promising higher fees. State-run insurer Citizens Property Insurance Corp., which relies on independent adjusters for claims related to Irma, has increased compensation for insurance adjusters.

In early September, Citizen Property Insurance's governing board suspended normal contracting procedures so that it could pay more to hire additional claims adjusters.

by RTT Staff Writer

For comments and feedback: editorial@rttnews.com

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