Insurance Fraud Following a Hurricane – It’s an Industry-Wide Problem

In fact, fraud was so problematic after Hurricane Sandy struck the Northeast that the New York Attorney General indicted several National Flood Insurance Program insurance company engineers for fraudulently altering reports to support denying property owners rightful claims for covered flood damages. Insurance companies to significantly reduce claim payouts, or outright deny them, then used those altered reports in their claims process.

During Hurricane Katrina, former State Farm claims adjusters blew the whistle against their employer for fraudulently changing reports to conclude that flooding instead of wind, caused property damage, and therefore would not covered under the policy. A jury eventually determined that State Farm owed over $4 million in damages related to this fraud.

And even following Hurricane Irma last summer, victims are still not getting a fair shake from insurers. Robert S. Hunter of the Consumer Federation of America warned that residents of Florida, Georgia, Alabama, and the Carolinas might have to pay a greater share of the damages than they’re expecting after the huge storm.

“Unfortunately, we believe that families will have to dig deeper into their pockets than ever, because insurers have been steadily increasing hurricane wind coverage deductibles and setting new limits [on payouts],” said Hunter said late last year in Forbes story on insurance fraud. This shift of costs to homeowners “may take some people by surprise, since disclosures are often buried in renewal paperwork that consumers may not understand or even read.”

Furthermore, insurers dealing with Hurricane Irma claims are still trying to twist out of covering homes with both wind and water damage through bizarre “anti-concurrent-causation” clauses. What this means is that the clause removes coverage for wind damage if an “uninsured flood” occurs at the same time. These clauses are often ambiguous, so if your insurer is using them to deny or underpay a claim, it’s best if you involve an insurance attorney right away.

As you can see, insurance fraud and unscrupulous tactics come in many different forms following a hurricane or major natural disaster. That’s why it’s important to have an experienced attorney on your side.

If you have sustained damage and losses in your home or business following Hurricane Irma, or are currently involved in a claim that is being denied, underpaid or delayed, contact the Acle Law Firm today at 305-447-4667 or visit for a free consultation.