Florida’s first storm season in 11 years with a hurricane making landfall ended Wednesday with declarations of a test successfully passed, but documents also show snafus with state contractors that resulted in six-figure penalties.
State-run Citizens Property Insurance Corp., one of the state’s two largest insurers, said it has paid about 84 percent of roughly 4,000 claims related to hurricanes Hermine and Matthew for more than $10 million.
About 41 percent of 1,347 Matthew claims in Palm Beach County have been paid, slightly below the state average of 42.7 percent, according to state records. Volusia, Duval, Brevard and St. John’s counties produced the most claims from Matthew.*
“The 2016 hurricane season provided Citizens with an excellent opportunity to test response capabilities developed over the past several years,’ said Citizens board chairman Chris Gardner. “We passed the test and also learned a lot, which will make our response even more successful in the future.”
But four vendors under contract to Citizens deployed less than half the claims-adjusting resources pledged in the wake of Hurricane Matthew, a Citizens committee heard Wednesday. A report noted a “larger event could have jeopardized our ability to respond.”
Records refer to “assessment of unrealized staffing penalties” of $106,920 for vendors listed as CIS, NCA Group, Bright Claim and Bradley Stinson. Attempts to reach the companies for comment were not immediately successful.
After 11 years without a direct storm hit, Hermine made landfall south of Tallahassee Sept. 2. Five weeks later came Matthew, which strafed Florida’s Atlantic coast and caused considerable damage without making landfall.
Hurricane season runs from June 1 through Nov. 30. In 2016, a slightly above average season produced 15 named storms, seven hurricanes and three major hurricanes.
On Friday, Florida Chief Financial Officer Jeff Atwater and Insurance Commissioner David Altmaier are scheduled to host a roundtable discussion on the 2016 storm season in St. Augustine. Insurance company executives are expected to join local leaders to discuss the season’s impact.
*An early version of this post left out Volusia, which has the most claims.