If you have an open homeowner's insurance claim from Hurricane Ian or another loss and your insurance company goes bankrupt, the Florida Insurance Guaranty Association (FIGA) will likely be responsible to pay your claim, but you need to know what to do to file a timely claim with FIGA so you can recover. Having helped homeowners with their hurricane and other property damage claims for decades, our experienced team of insurance attorneys has dealt with many clients whose insurance company went bankrupt during the claims process. Here are some tips and information you should know about filing a claim with FIGA if your insurance company goes insolvent.
How FIGA Works
FIGA is a state-run organization that provides financial protection, a guaranty, to Florida policyholders in the event of an insurance company's failure. You can learn more about FIGA and how it works here. Although FIGA's staff has been trained to provide quick, professional claim service with the goal of adjusting and paying the covered claims of the insolvent insurance company efficiently, there are some things you should know if your insurance company does happen to go bankrupt.
How to Contact FIGA to File a Claim
If you have a policy with an insurance company that becomes insolvent, there are a few steps you will need to take in order to file a claim with FIGA. Visit the Florida Department of Financial Services (DFS's) receivership page here and find your insolvent insurance company. Once you select your company, you will be taken to an FAQ page that also provides information on how to file a claim with FIGA. Here is an example.
You will generally need to provide the following information based on the type of insurance claim:
- Policyholder's name
- Claimant's name (if not the policyholder)
- Policy number
- Claim number
- Date of loss
- Brief description of the loss
- Filer's best contact information (email & phone)
- If other than policyholder reporting, please attach a letter of representation or the assignment of benefits contract
Necessary Documents to Gather
You will want to gather all the necessary documents related to your claim, including your policy documents, any receipts, estimates, invoices, as well as photos or video of the damage and other supporting documentation. You may need to provide this information to FIGA when filing your claim. The Florida Insurance Guaranty Association email account [email protected] is an email that will allow you to provide documents in PDF, Word, and Excel. You can also mail documents to P. O. Box 14249, Tallahassee, FL 32317 or fax them to 850-523-1888. Learn more about how to contact FIGA here.
Know the Claims Deadline
You will need to make sure you report your claim to FIGA and file the claim forms within the claim filing deadlines. Each insolvent insurance company will be subject to different claims deadlines, which are generally triggered by the day the company is declared insolvent. You can find the claims deadlines for your insurance company on FIGA's website or by clicking here.
Negotiating Your Claim with FIGA
FIGA will review your claim and advise if they need additional information or documentation. Although you should be aware the claims process can take time, just as you did with your insurance company, you should still follow up with FIGA every 7-10 days to ask for a status update and ensure your claim is getting the attention it needs and deserves. While FIGA can apply the same limitations and/or deductibles that your insurance company would have been able to invoke under the policy, they have the same obligation to pay your claim in full—up to FIGA's statutory caps ($500,000.00 for a residential property damage claim), discussed further here—as your insurance company did before it went bankrupt. Do not think you are not entitled to recover just as much (within FIGA's statutory caps) as you would have from your insurance company just because your claim is now with FIGA. FIGA has the same statutory and contractual obligation to pay your claim within its statutory caps.
The Best Way to Ensure Your Claim With FIGA Gets Paid: Hire an Expert to Help
An experienced property insurance claim attorney, like our attorneys at Taylor, Warren, Weidner & Hancock, can help you understand your rights and options under Florida law, as well as the terms of your insurance policy and FIGA's coverage limitations. They can also help you navigate the claims process with FIGA and advocate on your behalf to ensure that you are treated fairly by FIGA and that you receive the maximum compensation available under the law. Bringing in legal assistance to help you file and negotiate your claim with FIGA is the best way to ensure your rights are protected. Our attorneys never charge any fee, cost, or obligation to review your claim and answer any questions you may have. If your insurance company has gone bankrupt, do not hesitate to contact us for assistance.