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Damages from Hurricane Irma mount in Central Florida


Date: October 18, 2017
Source: Orlando Sentinel
Author:  MAry Shanklin


One out of every 150 houses, business and other properties in Orange County suffered damage from Hurricane Irma, with far more than that filing insurance claims, new reports show.

Damage from the Sept. 11 disaster totaled $51.67 million in Orange County, according to an assessment released Wednesday by Orange County Property Appraiser Rick Singh. On average, damages averaged $8,286 for each of the 3,001 Orange properties that reported property damage. The estimates are based on confirmed damages reported to the county.

The toll, though, could be greater based on state insurance records. Orange County residents and properties owners submitted 61,322 insurance claims related to Irma— second only to Dade County where more than 94,000 insurance claims were filed, the state Office of Insurance Regulation reported.

Central Florida claims related to Irma totaled about 126,000 for Orange, Seminole, Osceola and Lake counties. Within the four-county region, Orange took the brunt of the damage followed by Osceola with 24,141 claims, Seminole with 20,521 claims and Lake with 19,981 claims, according to the state.

Hal Breeding, who lives near St. Cloud, said Farm Bureau Insurance was the only thing that worked for him following the storm. He said Federal Emergency Management Agency was unresponsive to his calls and made him wait hours on the phone before telling him the computers were down. And roofers largely disregarded his requests for a quote.

 “I called four roofers and not a one showed up for a month,” Breeding said. One roofing company did finally tarp over Breeding’s house to protect it until they could get back in six months to install a new roof for $12,000, he added.

Insurance filings underscore that Irma’s winds wreaked much more havoc than floodwaters. Less than 1 percent of the 747,534 insurance claims filed in Florida for Irma damage were for flood-related problems.

About 13 percent of claims filed statewide have been rejected and 32 have been closed.

FEMA disaster aid offices at Orange County Bank, 2250 N. Orange Blossom Trail, Orlando, are open 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. seven days a week. The agency also announced this week that it would provide disaster-relief services at the Lake County Extension Office, 1951 Woodlea Road, Tavares from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. Monday through Friday.