I met with a potential new client recently and asked the same question I always ask communities as the 5-year Statute of Limitations winds down on the ability to bring a claim for Hurricane Wilma damage: Did you suffer any damage from Wilma?
The answer was a resounding YES followed by, "and we were ripped off by our insurance company"! After some more delving into the situation, this board (which was not the same board in place at the time the damage occurred 4 1/2 years ago) advised me that they were told by the insurance company's adjuster that they suffered $480,000 in damages which was, fortunately for the insurance company, less than their $500,000 deductible! Of course, the damage to the roof was not taken into account by the adjuster for a variety of reasons they did not clearly understand.
I advised the board that they not only had a claim that had exceeded their deductible but had probably exceeded it by well over a million dollars after damage to the roof, windows and structure was taken into account. They, like many other well-meaning volunteer boards, were duped into believing they simply didn't have a claim. Of course, it is better for business if insurance customers don't get pushy and demand to be made whole when they suffer a loss; even better for business if they are too scared of being canceled or having their rates raised to file a claim in the first place.
There is a 5-year statute of limitations in the State of Florida on casualty claims. If your community suffered damage from Hurricane Wilma in October, 2005 and you are not certain that your claim was properly handled, you owe it to yourselves and to your members to find out for sure before it is too late. If you were fortunate enough not to have suffered damage from Wilma, make sure you fully understand your rights and how the insurance industry operates before the wind blows again which it undoubtedly will. I have created a special website to inform Floridians about this rapidly closing window of opportunity to pursue Hurricane Wilma claims. Please visit www.wilmaclaims.com if you are interested.
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