Hurricanes, from Harvey, to Irma, to Jose have been dominating the news cycle for the last two weeks, and rightfully so. Irma turned into the most powerful hurricane ever recorded in the Atlantic. It left devastation in its wake; the island of Barbuda reported that 90% of it was destroyed. While the death toll on the US mainland is low, the damage Irma wrought, particularly in Florida, has left many people, and many insurance companies, wondering what happens next. To aid in the recovery process, Florida Governor Rick Scott directed the Insurance Commissioner of the Florida Office of Insurance Regulation (OIR) to issue an emergency order that suspended activity on certain insurance rules and statutes for the health and safety of the affected populace.
The order was issued on September 13th, 2017. One of the most important provisions it implements allows affected policyholders an extra 90 days to supply the necessary information to their insurance company. The order also prevents insurance companies from canceling or non-renewing policies that cover any residential policies that were damaged by the hurricane. Perhaps most importantly, the order also freezes any efforts to raise the rates on policyholders for 90 days from the date the order was given.
In addition to all of that, the order also ensures that both personal residential property, and commercial residential property insurance policies that cover a dwelling in Florida may not be canceled or removed until 90 days after the damage caused by Irma has been repaired.
The text of the order acknowledges the extraordinary circumstances that Hurricane Irma brought to the Florida peninsula and details the reality that hundreds of thousands of policyholders were affected by this. As such, the OIR expects all insurers and regulated entities to implement procedures to better facilitate the processing of such a large influx of claims.
If you want to read the full order, you can find it here: http://floir.com/siteDocuments/Emergency_Order_Irma09132017.pdf