Hurricane Coverage Claims
Legal Representation Following Natural Disasters in Alabama and Florida
The Gulf Coast has witnessed many devastating hurricanes. Homeowners and other residents of Florida and Alabama have suffered through injuries and property losses in connection with these natural disasters. At Milam & Milam, we understand your frustration at experiencing a hurricane and suffering damages, only to find that your insurer refuses to properly investigate your hurricane claim or denies it. Our attorneys work hard to pursue the compensation you need and deserve if your claim is wrongly denied.
Insurance Claims After a Hurricane
All hurricane insurance policies are contracts. A homeowner agrees to pay premiums so that the insurance company will pay claims after a hurricane. When an insurance carrier denies or limits coverage in a way not spelled out by the policy, it may be subject to a bad faith lawsuit. Some common reasons that insurers give for denying hurricane claims in the Southeastern United States are:
- The water that damaged your property is flood damage after the hurricane and isn't covered;
- Moldy structures do not need to be rebuilt but merely washed; and
- The house will be rebuilt exactly the way it was, even if the building code has changed.
We will examine your hurricane insurance contract and the damages to determine whether you have a good case against the insurer. Florida recognizes first-party bad faith insurance claims. These happen when the insured asserts the insurer acted in bad faith when it denied, delayed, or underpaid the insurer's claim for injuries or losses.
In Florida, for example, a policyholder can assert claims for declaratory relief, breach of contract, and breach of the implied warranty of good faith and fair dealing, but there are certain strict limitations. In Florida, you are required to provide an insurer with a Civil Remedy Notice of Insurer Violation and file it with the Florida Office of Insurance Regulation as a condition precedent to bringing a bad faith cause of action under section 624.155 of the Florida Statutes. The insurer is given time under the statute to "cure" its conduct.
The claim is bifurcated from the breach of contract lawsuit. Unlike other states, which allow the breach of contract and bad faith claims to proceed together, you must first sue on the basis of breach of contract in Florida, and then bring the bad faith claim. Even though the facts may be identical, you will have to present your case in two parts. Discovery may be restricted in the breach of contract case, and insurers defending against breach of contract are likely to argue that certain requests are related to "bad faith" rather than the breach of contract claim. This can make it exhausting to bring a bad faith action in Florida and permit insurers to hide information about how they handle claims.
Under section 627.428, a successful Florida policyholder can recover the attorneys' fees incurred to enforce the insurance policy.
Contact a Gulf Coast Hurricane Coverage Attorney
If you believe you have been wrongfully denied coverage under an insurance policy that includes hurricane coverage, the lawyers of Milam & Milam can help you. We use our 25 years of combined experience in Birmingham, Montgomery, Pensacola, and other cities on the Gulf Coast to help secure hurricane coverage and force insurers to live up to their side of insurance contracts. We are located in Fairhope, Alabama. Contact us by calling 251-928-0191 or request a consultation through our online form.