Capitalism meets climate change

Flood insurance in Florida was always going to be a disaster waiting to happen. It’s happening.

During the insurance claims process, it’s standard for field adjusters, who are trained to assess damaged homes, to collaborate with those back in the office to make minor edits, discuss aspects of the claim and alter line items if, for example, the carrier has evidence that damage was from a prior event, according to adjusters and insurance industry experts. That is how the system is supposed to work.

But that’s not what has been happening in the aftermath of Hurricane Ian, Lee and others said.

Insurers are motivated to find every way they can to reduce the payout, but they’re not supposed to just erase most of what the adjuster reports.

Instead, Lee and other adjusters contracted by regional insurance carriers say that managers have been changing their work by lowering totals, rewriting descriptions of damage and deleting accompanying photos without their approval. These actions to devalue damage are the latest example of the insurance crisis in Florida.

See, you don’t want to be a flood insurance company in Florida. Global warming is going to swamp Florida, and the process is already well under way.

After years of more frequent and intense storms, national carriers have pulled back from the market and smaller, regional carriers with smaller financial reserves jumped in.

Why? Are they stupid? Why would anyone Jump In on that?

In the wake of Hurricane Ian, those companies have been aggressively seeking to limit payouts to policyholders by altering the work of licensed adjusters, according to a Washington Post investigation. As a result, homeowners are left footing much of the bill for repairs, exposing an untenable gap between the cost of storm damage and what insurers are willing to pay to fix it.

Those companies shouldn’t have jumped in in the first place. What did they think was going to happen? Did they not figure out why the big insurers were getting out of Florida altogether?

It’s a sad sad story.

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