Articles Posted in Hurricane and Storm Damage Insurance


The Atlantic hurricane season is expected to be active again this year, according to Colorado State University researchers’ preseason projection, which was released Thursday morning.

Researchers think the Atlantic will be as lively as ever because of several characteristics highlighted in the report, which was presented at the National Tropical Weather Conference in Texas.

This season, 23 named storms are predicted. Of those 23 storms, 11 are predicted to intensify into hurricanes, and 5 of them are predicted to achieve major hurricane status, meaning their winds will reach 111 mph or more.

Colorado State University has never released a preseason forecast this aggressive. Since their first April projections started in 1995, CSU has forecast multiple times, and the previous record for the highest preseason forecast called for nine hurricanes in a season.
The main contributing reason to this year’s storm projection, according to the experts, is the historically warm sea surface temperatures in the eastern and tropical Atlantic.

There are 21 names on the Atlantic Hurricane Season roster. Colorado State University has predicted that the season would run out of names by November 30th. If that happens, the basin will be moved to a secondary name list for the first time since its inception in 2021. Prior to 2021, any storms that arose after the 21st were sorted by the Greek alphabet. There have only been two instances of this happening in history: in 2005 and 2020.

Overall, CSU projects that this year’s storm activity in the Atlantic basin will be roughly 170% more than that of a normal season. Hurricane activity in the Atlantic basin was approximately 120% of the typical season last year.

Updates to Colorado State’s seasonal forecast will be released on June 11, July 9, and August 6.

The Atlantic hurricane season runs from June 1 to Nov. 30. Now is an excellent time to consider your options for hurricane preparedness. When the next hurricane or tropical storm decides to make landfall in Florida, be sure that your property is safe.

Here are some tips for preparing for hurricane season:

  • Have a plan: Decide on a plan to keep your family and pets safe during the storm.
  • Secure your home: Cover windows and doors with plywood, sandbag, or accordion shutters. Seal outside wall openings, including garage doors. Check your roof for loose, cracked, or missing shingles.
  • Prepare an emergency kit: Have two weeks’ worth of supplies in a safe place, including non-perishable food and water, medicine, flashlights, batteries, a battery-powered radio, and a portable charger.
  • Prepare your car: Fuel up your car so that you can evacuate immediately if need be.
  • Plan your evacuation: Know your zone and when to evacuate. Leave as soon as an evacuation order is issued.
  • Know Your Insurance Coverage: To find out what kinds of coverage you have on your house, including coverage for hurricane-related damage, read your homeowner’s insurance policy. Verify if your insurance will cover the cost of rebuilding your house if a hurricane or tropical storm destroys it. It is important to understand how your insurance covers replacement costs for your residence and not only for the value of the property at the time you took out the policy.

Seek Legal Counsel When Disputes Arise

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The Atlantic hurricane season of 2023 has come to an end. This season, with 20 named storms, will rank as the fourth busiest since 1950. 2023 saw record-warm Atlantic sea surface temperatures and significant El Niño-influenced activity.

Of the 20 storms that were named during this year’s hurricane season, seven developed into hurricanes. Three became powerful hurricanes.

Just one of the three named storms that made landfall in the United States was a hurricane – Hurricane Idalia. On August 30, the hurricane made landfall near Keaton Beach, Florida, with maximum winds of 125 mph, classified as a Category 3.

Harold and Ophelia were the other two named storms to make landfall in the United States. On August 22, Tropical Storm Harold touched down on Padre Island, Texas, bringing torrential downpours over northern Mexico and South Texas.

On September 23, Tropical Storm Ophelia made landfall close to Emerald Isle, North Carolina, bringing severe winds, a substantial storm surge, and river flooding to eastern North Carolina.

Actual-200x300On September 16, Hurricane Lee became a post-tropical storm before hitting land in Nova Scotia, Canada. It caused severe surf and rip currents to the entire U.S. Atlantic coast, and hurricane-force winds to Maine and the Canadian Maritimes.

A metric called accumulated cyclone energy (ACE) is used to quantify the activity of both individual tropical cyclones and entire seasons of storms. More details about it are available here.

Activity this season has been above average, most likely due to record-warm sea surface temperatures in the Atlantic. This year’s severe El Niño was counterbalanced by the warm water temperatures.

Historically, El Niño conditions have suppressed tropical activity by influencing upper-level winds in the Atlantic basin. According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), the Atlantic basin produced the most named storms in 2023 than any other El Niño-influenced year on record.

The names that were in use in 2023 are listed here. In 2029, this list—aside from any names that are retired—will be utilized again.

  • Tropical Storm Arlene
  • Tropical Storm Bret
  • Tropical Storm Cindy
  • Hurricane Don
  • Tropical Storm Emily
  • Hurricane Franklin
  • Tropical Storm Gert
  • Tropical Storm Harold
  • Hurricane Idalia
  • Tropical Storm Jose
  • Tropical Storm Katia
  • Hurricane Lee
  • Hurricane Margot
  • Hurricane Nigel
  • Tropical Storm Ophelia
  • Tropical Storm Philippe
  • Tropical Storm Rina
  • Tropical Storm Sean
  • Hurricane Tammy

Residents of Florida have always experienced severe disruptions from hurricanes, but in 2023 and the upcoming years, there could be even greater risks. The state is likely to continue to see an increase in storm activity, bigger hurricanes, and persistent winds and rain. It is critical to be equipped to withstand any storm.

Be aware of the possibility of increasingly severe hurricane seasons, and share this information with your local friends and neighbors to develop relationships and remain safe. When it comes time to file a lawsuit for personal injury or wrongful death, or to settle an insurance claim, be ready to contact an experienced hurricane lawyer.

Your chances of speeding up your recovery after the storm are stronger the sooner you get legal representation. With multiple locations in Florida — from Gainesville to Miami — our Florida Hurricane and Storm Damage Attorneys at Whittel & Melton are ready to help you recover after a storm. We have the expertise to assist you in obtaining what you are legally entitled to, regardless of whether you are facing severe property damage, severe injuries, or the tragic aftermath of a fatality. Continue reading


Hurricane Idalia ripped through Florida as a Major Hurricane. Using the Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Wind Scale, the National Hurricane Center defines a hurricane as “Major” if sustained winds are over 110 miles per hour, which is considered Category 3 and above on the scale. 

The severe storm made landfall  on Wednesday morning, August  30, 2023 in the Big Bend of Florida’s gulf coast, over Keaton Beach, with maximum sustained winds of 125 miles per hour, just before 8 a.m. ET after having briefly strengthened to Category 4.

Idalia moved across northern Florida toward Georgia and was downgraded to a tropical storm Wednesday afternoon. It continued up the Atlantic Coast on Wednesday night to South Carolina and North Carolina.


You may be wondering where to start when you have come back to your home or business after the storms and find yourself left with massive property damage and destruction. Should you go on to your insurance provider’s website and submit an online claim?

The answer is YES! This is a great idea because you want to submit your claim in a timely manner. However, just because you submit an online claim does not mean you can blindly trust that the insurance company will not try and play games with your submission. What do we mean by that?

The main thing to understand is that these websites are created for these insurance claims to come in, as well as a means for the insurance company to control what they do and do not know/what they were and were not notified of. So, what should you do?

Once you submit your online claim, you should immediately follow that up with an email. When writing your follow up email to the carrier, after submitting your claim, be sure answer these questions.

(1) who are you? Policy number, where do you live?
(2) when you submitted the claim via online form
(3) what online form did you use? (Name of website)
(4) what date and name of storm?
(5) what damage did you highlight?
(6) any estimates, bills, work performed or anecdotal information
(7) how best to get back a hold of you

The point of doing this is to have an email memorializing what you did on their website because you have no way of knowing if your insurance provider will try and say they never received your claim. You have no idea how many times we have seen when people submit a claim and never here anything back. They hire us later and we communicate with the insurance company only to find that they say this is the first time they have heard anything about the claim in question. This can change the prospects for your financial recovery based on dates, statutes of limitations, and all sorts of other things.

With all this said, it is absolutely a great idea to use your insurance company’s website to submit an online claim. Just make sure you memorialize it with an email that follows up with exactly what you did. You can even screen shot a picture of the website submission form before you submit it, so that you can show further proof of your claim submission.

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As Hurricane Idalia makes its way through Florida, already causing flooding in some coastal areas, parts of the State’s Gulf Coast are expected to see deadly storm surge that officials are describing as non-survivable.

In addition, a tornado watch is also in effect for central and western Florida, including the Tampa Bay area, until 6 a.m. Wednesday. Tornadoes are frequently connected with the outer bands of tropical systems that make landfall.

Idalia is anticipated to strengthen to a Category 3 hurricane before reaching the Big Bend region, which contains Taylor County and is located just southeast of the state capital, Tallahassee. Idalia will bring strong gusts and a storm surge of 10 to 15 feet to the area, which is enough water stacked to reach halfway up an average building’s second level.

Evacuation orders are mandatory in at least 28 counties. You can view them here.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration identifies storm surge as the reason for most storm evacuations and the cause for about half of all hurricane-related fatalities.

If you are in an evacuation zone, our Florida Hurricane and Storm Damage Lawyers at Whittel & Melton urge you to get to safety. Remember, you do not have to leave the State – sometimes you just need to travel tens of miles (not hundreds) to get to a safer spot.

After Idalia hits, and you can make it safely back to your home, assessing the damage is an important task. We have a few tips that can make filing an insurance claim less stressful.

  1. Untitled-design-58-200x300Fully evaluate your losses: The goal of insurance is to compensate you for your actual losses. Making a thorough record of your losses, complete with images, estimated values, purchase dates, and information on the damage sustained, will help to support your claim.
  2. Report the damage right away: Waiting too long could mean you lose money. As soon as it is safe to do so, make the initial report to your insurance provider.
  3. Know the details of your insurance policy: Different types of hurricane insurance exist. Knowing when temporary solutions can help or when they might undermine your long-term claim is important. Review the specifics of your policy.
  4. Keep a detailed log of repairs: Maintain thorough records of the repairs you have made and the associated charges.
  5. Speak with our Florida Hurricane and Storm Damage Lawyers at Whittel & Melton: You can get help from our Hurricane Insurance Claims Lawyers to ensure that your payment is accurate and thorough. If the insurance provider rejects your claim unfairly, we can also assist you in taking the proper legal action to challenge them.

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The 2023 Atlantic hurricane season is nearing, and we are just under 65 days from the official start date of June 1.

Here are the changes and what you need to know for the 2023 hurricane season:

  • Atlantic Hurricane Season starts June 1, 2023 – while there has been some talk of shifting official start dates, June 1 will be the start date as expected.
  • Forecasts from the National Hurricane Center (NHC) will extend to 7 days, up from the previous 5-day projections.
  • The NHC will implement changed for its tropical outlook formats, which will be helpful to the public and meteorologists.
  • Four new names will be added to the 2023 hurricane list.

At the end of every hurricane season, the NHC and World Meteorological Organization review how the previous season went and identify what worked, what did not work, and what can be changed to improve the next season so that all communications regarding hurricanes and tropical storms are accurate and straightforward.

The fresh changes for this year should break things down in the best way for the public to stay informed and on top of inclement weather.

Untitled-design-22-200x300New 2023 Atlantic Hurricane Season Names

Once every hurricane season wraps, the World Meteorological Organization reviews what names will be retired and what new names will join the list as their replacements.

For 2023, we will use a list from 2017. That year, we saw three major storms: Irma, Maria, and Harvey. To replace these names that have been retired, the WMO has added Nigel, Margot, Harold, and Idalia.

Fun Fact: it is not at all uncommon to see the “I” name retired. Data from previous seasons shows that the WMO has replaced the “I” storm name the most out of any other letter. “I” storm names have been retired 12 times since 1954.




Our Florida Hurricane and Tropical Storm Damage Insurance Claims Attorneys at Whittel & Melton urge you to start preparing for the 2023 hurricane season now.

  1. Perform Preventative Maintenance on Your Property
  • Remove any large trees that could cause damage to your property in the event of heavy winds
  • Test your fire alarms and CO detectors and replace when necessary
  • Make sure sump pumps are operating correctly
  • Test emergency generators
  • Check that you have enough fuel for emergency generators
  • Clean gutters and downspouts
  • Inspect your roof for any damages
  1. Buy Supplies
  • Batteries
  • Non-perishable foods
  • Water
  • Flashlights
  • First-aid kits
  • Battery-powered radio
  • Tool kit
  • Fire extinguishers
  • Tarps/tape/plastic bags
  • Generator and gas to fuel it
  1. Have an Emergency Preparedness Plan for You and Your Family

Sit down with close friends/family and develop a plan for how you will stay in contact in the event of a dangerous storm and where you will go/what you will do. Keep a copy of this plan with your emergency supplies so you can refer to it should the time come to do so.

  1. Review Your Insurance Policies

Make sure you look over your policies and ensure you have adequate coverage should a storm cause significant damage to your property. Continue reading


The Wall Street Journal has predicted that the aftermath of Hurricane Ian will prompt a legal battle between Florida home insurers and struggling, underinsured homeowners.

It is anticipated that homeowners will turn to the court system to try and secure payments for wind and flood damage that homeowner’s insurance carriers will say they are not legally obligated to pay out. The key issue is whether home insurers are wrongly avoiding wind damage claims by blaming flooding (flood damage has been excluded from standard homeowner’s policies for decades) for these damages. Fewer than one-third to a little over 40% of homeowners in the cities of Sanibel, Cape Coral, Naples, and Fort Myers, in addition to other areas along the southwestern coast that were hit the hardest by Hurricane Ian, are covered by flood insurance policies.

Now, industry experts are predicting that insurance will become less available in regions like Florida as insurers are projected to go bankrupt, forcing homeowners into delinquency.

HURRICANE-IAN-STORM-DAMAGE-INSURANCE-CLAIMS-200x300Recovery from Hurricane Ian is predicted to be difficult and delayed. Why? High interest rates, inflation, labor and material costs, and pending litigation all play a role in complicating Hurricane Ian storm damage claims.

Experts anticipate storm damage claims from Hurricane Ian taking more than a year to close out.

According to U.S. property data and analytics company CoreLogic, insured losses for Florida from Hurricane Ian are somewhere between $28 billion and $47, potentially making this the costliest storm for the Sunshine State since Hurricane Andrew in 1992.

What Should You Do if Your Hurricane Ian Insurance Claim is Denied? 

If your Hurricane Ian insurance claim is denied, then you need to take appropriate action and challenge the denial. As the policy holder, you have the right to file an internal appeal, which means you can request another insurance adjuster to review the initial decision with fresh eyes. If this is not successful, then taking legal action to request fair payment for the original damage and additional funds for expenses that have accumulated due to delays is your best recourse. The court can review all the facts of your claim and determine if the insurance company is in breach of their policy by refusing your claim.

If the court finds in your favor, then your insurance provider will have to pay you a disclosed amount and possibly other damages if they acted in bad faith. Our Florida Hurricane Ian Insurance Claims Lawyers at Whittel & Melton can help you gather all necessary evidence in order to present valid proof of the full value of the claim and what money you are entitled to.

Our Insurance Disputes Team at Whittel & Melton Are Here to Help After Hurricane Ian Continue reading


Hurricane Ida brought destruction to Louisiana and the Gulf Coast, leaving millions without power for what is projected to be weeks, wreaking havoc on homes and business properties, and weakening the societal infrastructure that is needed to keep things running safely and smoothly. This has left many wondering what’s next? It is important to be prepared for what Mother Nature has in store for the coming weeks for the Atlantic and Southeastern states.

Hurricanes are named alphabetically at the start of every hurricane season in June. The names are always predetermined by the National Weather Service. The letter “I,” is the ninth letter of the alphabet and the ninth storm of the season that typically occurs at the end of September. 2021 has been an active storm season, but Hurricane Ida occurred roughly a month ahead of schedule and was one of the most powerful storms the United States has seen. It now joins the ranks of other powerful “I” storms, 2004’s Ivan and 2017’s Irma, which is one that Floridians remember well.

A look back at 2020 shows that this was also an active hurricane season, bringing 30 named storms, 14 hurricanes (7 major hurricanes), 11 named storms hitting the U.S. coastline, and then Greek letters being used for names as the busy hurricane season came to a close.

key-west-86025_1920-300x199Taking a peek back at the previous years of storms shows a disturbing trend: an increase in named storms and an intensity that is ferocious. Hurricane Ida went from a Category 1 Hurricane to a Category 4 Hurricane on the Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Wind Scale too quickly for most to develop a plan of action to protect themselves and their property from the storm that intensified from 85 mph to 150 mph in less than 24 hours. With that said, Floridians are urged to not only prepare for more storms, but more storms that are dangerous forced that could end in great destruction.

Storm names remaining for the 2021 season are: 

  • Larry
  • Mindy
  • Nicholas
  • Odette
  • Peter
  • Rose
  • Sam
  • Teresa
  • Victor
  • Wanda

What Do You Do After a Hurricane?

After surviving a powerful storm, don’t be shocked when your own insurance company denies your claim. Your insurance company may have a laundry list of reasons they provide as to why your claim will be delayed or outright denied. Continue reading


2020 is one of the most active storm seasons ever in the waters around the State of Florida, the Atlantic Ocean, Gulf of Mexico, and Caribbean Sea.


Florida Property insurance policies typically have two deductibles. A standard deductible for most losses; and a hurricane deductible. The standard “Other Perils” deductible is for pretty much anything covered by the policy, such as fire, pipe bursts and appliance related water damage claims, or windstorms, etc. The hurricane deductible only applies to named Hurricanes. The last major hurricane to hit Florida was Hurricane Michael in the panhandle on October 10, 2018; and more recently in the western portions of the Florida panhandle for Hurricane Sally on September 16, 2020, and Hurricane Zeta on October 28, 2020. Hurricane deductibles are typically 2 or 3 percent of the limit of the insurance for the home which is a lot higher than the standard deductible for all other claims. The Eta storm of November 2020 started off in South Florida counties like Miami-Dade, Broward and Palm Beach County as a Tropical Storm (not a hurricane). But as storms in Florida do, things changed, and the weather system chased west back into the Gulf of Mexico where it was reclassified as a Hurricane for a short period of time before heading back to the Nature Coast across Florida again as a Tropical Storm.

key-west-81664_1920-1-1-300x199DON’T GET FOOLED BY YOUR INSURANCE COMPANY!

First, an insurer may rush to slap a hurricane deductible on your claim when it should not apply because a Tropical Storm is not a hurricane. Second (and this is really the most important!), Insurers in Florida have often told their customers after a storm that unless they absolutely know that their damage is more than their hurricane deductible, then they should not even put in a claim. There are many reasons why this is terrible advice and a bad business practice by insurance companies. As the policyholder, it is not your job to know the exact amount of damage you have in the weeks following a severe storm. You also may discover that the storm caused much more damage than you initially thought or could see in the days following the hurricane. Many Floridians have fallen for the insurers gambit only to attempt to make their claims later on and be told its too late to make the claim.

If you believe you have Hurricane or Tropical Storm damage from any of these strong weather systems that brought havoc to Florida, please call us and we can assist you in determining which deductible applies, assist you with determining the actual extent of the damage to your home, and provide needed guidance through the process with your insurance company.

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