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Florida leaders must remember Hurricane Michael Policyholders | Property Insurance Coverage Law Blog



Gerald Herbert / AP

Washinton Post published a story, Survivors of Hurricane Michael in the Florida Panhandle Fear They have been forgotten . The story is excellent, and it is clear that the reporter, Joel Achenbach, was in place early after the disaster because he noted "tough" debris stored along the roads. It's always great for me after big hurricanes how there are canyons of stacked up rubbish over ten to fifteen feet on both sides of roads in some devastated neighborhoods. This happened in Panama City, Florida, and even after Michael.

The point of the local feeling and my impression of the current situation is probably best described in this part of the story:

The inhabitants here wonder if their with Americans understand their ongoing struggle. Beneficial donations that flow into the area have been modest. The US Red Cross estimated that selected donations to Hurricane Michael victims were $ 35 million by the end of March. Hurricane Florence, who met Carolinas a month earlier, pulled $ 64.3 million. Hurricane Irma … the year one year told $ 97 million to give, and Hurricane Harvey … attracted $ 522.7 million.

Michael caused 49 deaths and more than $ 5.5 billion in injury. Workers have removed 31 million cubic meters of debris in Florida left by Hurricane Michael, compared to 3 million for Hurricane Irma, a much wider storm that hit the entire Peninsula in 2017 …

Because Michael happened so fast – Panhandle struck just 73 hours It became a named tropical storm – and hit relatively few people in a rural corner of Deep South, the storm was overshadowed by other disasters. It was pressed between the floods that consumed North Carolina after Hurricane Florence in September and the wildernesses that destroyed northern California in November.

"To some extent, the American psyche was never penetrated …"

There is also the emotional and psychological aspect of the devastation that is difficult to describe to others who do not suffer from mass disasters but are a recurring theme I find for so many in these devastated areas. I remember talking to the CFO of my client, Pearl River Community College and a local county sheriff who followed Hurricane Katrina in 2005. They talked about the tip of illegal behavior that they attributed to various forms of post-traumatic stress. They described a significant increase in abuse, alcohol and drug-related incidents, and people who were not normally jailed in a society they claimed were largely free of these incidents.

The story Posten noted Same results:

Many of the long-lasting effects of the hurricane are intangible – stress, anxiety, depression. Normal rainstorms trigger sizeable panic. People are visibly exhausted, twisted out.

Misconduct among schoolchildren has spiked, says Sharon Michalik, public information officer for Bay County Schools, where 4,800 students – about 1 in 6 – are classified as resident homes, which federal officials consider homeless. She said that very morning she had received a note from a teacher who had to move seven times since the hurricane and will lose her seventh rental.

In Panama City, Sabrina Fleming is back in business at Peggy Sue Barber Shop, which had been reduced to a mountain of cinder blocks and wood paneling by Michael's winds. But Fleming still suffers from a bad case of disaster fatigue. A mushroom erupted near her home last weekend and raged for three days, driven by the fallen pines.

"I'm 42 but I know 82," she said. "Life is just harder now. Everything takes time. It's such drainage and I just want to run."

Florida's leaders need to visit areas devastated by Hurricane Michael, whether this is their neighborhood or not. They need to show that they care through various initiatives that help to provide relief – financially and otherwise. Our lawmakers must make laws that hold insurance companies more responsible for full and quick payment.

I would suggest that fewer laws favor surpluses and excess carriers selling policies that are not regulated by the insurance department. We must stop committing them to our recognized insurance market. Allowing these surpluses and surplus carriers more incentives to sell property insurance is not good for the long-term property insurance market and especially not good for hurricanes because excess line carriers from out of state are notorious for slow and low payment.

Seven years ago I noted the following in a post titled The Emotional Impact of the Disaster :

When people have purchased insurance and have suffered loss, there is some certainty to know that the insurance will alleviate the financial nature that would otherwise give further anxiety to a tragic situation. All of this is destroyed if the insurance policy has significant limitations, deductibles, and coverage exclusions that provide uninsured losses. Peace of mind can also be destroyed if insurance managers are slow to pay or take aggressive non-payment points during the adjustment. Therefore, insurance departments must regulate the behavior of insurance tax departments and be concerned about the development of modern insurance companies to sell "cheap" insurance through policies that have high deductibles, low recovery thresholds, and many coverage exclusions. Such policies make the insurance contract almost illusory; The promised peace of mind for policyholders and entire communities is never delivered.

Florida has many fine and well-meaning leaders in the legislature and insurance department. I am fortunate to have met a number of them in recent months. I would encourage them to read this article Washington Post before considering insurance laws and public policy initiatives.

The thought of the day

While natural disasters capture headlines and national attention in the short term, the work on recovery and rebuilding is long-term.
-Sylvia Mathews Burwell


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