Articles Posted in Hurricane and Storm Damage Insurance


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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key-west-81664_1920-300x199Monday started the Atlantic Hurricane Season, and now with the coronavirus pandemic still lingering, preparing for this season might be a bit different than previous years. 

By the time the Category 3 Hurricane Dorian hit Florida’s East Coast in September of last year, it brought damage to the Daytona Beach Pier and caused powerful storm surges with wind damage throughout Florida’s East Coast.

And with hurricane season raping up again, the threat of another strong hurricane lingers. 


A Pembroke Pines homeowner is suing an insurance company, alleging breach of contract.

The man filed a complaint March 23 in Broward Circuit Court against Universal Property and Casualty Insurance Company, alleging failure to provide coverage after a hurricane.

According to the complaint, on Sept. 10, 2017, the man sustained damaged property and repair costs when his property was substantially damaged by Hurricane Irma while his insurance policy was in full force and effect. However, the suit says, despite the man’s efforts to perform all obligations to recover under the policy, Universal Property has refused to provide coverage for his claim.

The man claims that Universal Property and Casualty Insurance has refused to pay to replace and/or repair the full amount of damage to his dwelling, and forced him to retain and pay for an attorney’s services in bringing legal action.

Hurricane Irma was the largest storm to hit Florida since Hurricane Andrew in 1992. With mandatory evacuations and 185 mph winds, the aftermath of this storm left many homes and properties destroyed. Our Florida Hurricane Insurance Attorneys at Whittel & Melton know that even if you have homeowners insurance and did everything in your power to protect your home, insurance companies may still refuse to payout for damages. We can protect your interests when insurers refuse to pay valid claims.

Most homeowners insurance policies require that you give notice to the insurance carrier immediately after the damage occurs. If you wait too long to contact your insurance company, they could deny your claim because of your failure to act promptly.

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An Orlando property owner is suing an insurance company, alleging breach of contract.

The property owner filed a complaint Feb. 2 in the Orange County Circuit Court against Florida Specialty Insurance Company, alleging failure to pay for damage caused by a hurricane.

According to the complaint, on Sept. 11, 2017, while the Orlando property was insured under a homeowners insurance policy, it sustained a covered loss due to Hurricane Irma. However, the suit says Florida Specialty has refused to provide coverage.

The property owner alleges Florida Specialty Insurance has failed to fully pay for all of the insurance losses and forced the property owner to retain the services of an attorney.

Our Florida Hurricane Claims Lawyers at Whittel & Melton represent homeowners and businesses in hurricane damage claims in Orlando and the surrounding areas. We know how hard it can be to get your insurance company to cooperate following a hurricane or storm damage claim. We can help you recover what is rightfully owed to you, according to the terms of your policy agreement.

Insurance companies use tactics that are meant to protect the company’s interests and do not always act in good faith when it comes to paying out for valid claims. We are more than familiar with the unfair strategies insurance companies use, including:

  • Denial of a claim
  • Delayed payment of a claim
  • Underpayment of a claim

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A Stuart couple was hospitalized this week after suffering carbon monoxide poisoning while running a generator in their home, according to the Martin County Health Department.

The couple was brought to a hospital Tuesday after complaining of shortness of breath and chest pain. They remain in the hospital, the health department said.

At least four families in Palm Beach County suffered carbon monoxide poisoning this week after keeping running generators in closed garages, according to health officials.

As of Thursday afternoon, 16,740 customers in Martin County were still without power because of Hurricane Irma, according to the Florida Power & Light website.

In Palm Beach County, 156,150 customers were still without power.

Our Florida Injury Lawyers at Whittel & Melton strongly urge you to read through the operating manual before you operate a generator so that you fully understand how the machine works. You can avoid injury by always following the manufacturer’s guidelines and keeping the following safety tips in mind:

  • Never use a generator in an enclosed space. Carbon dioxide produced by the engine can build up, causing potentially fatal fumes.
  • When using a generator, keep it outdoors and at least 5 feet away from windows, vents, and doors.
  • Always use a battery-operated carbon-dioxide detector when you are running a generator. Make sure the batteries are new.
  • Before refueling the generator, allow it to cool for a minimum of two minutes, since gasoline vapors are extremely flammable. Use fresh gasoline, or stabilize gas with a fuel stabilizer if you do not use the generator for 30 days.
  • Make sure that you follow the maintenance schedule that is recommended by the manufacturer.
  • If you must use an extension cord, make sure it is rated for generator use and that it is grounded.
  • Power generators should never be plugged into a home outlet.

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Treasure Coast officials are ordering mandatory evacuations Saturday for Martin County for Hurricane Irma.

Residents living on Hutchinson Island, Jupiter Island and Sewall’s Point should expect to be evacuated. As of now, Martin County remains under a voluntary evacuation order, which is part of the state of emergency

After the devastating effects of a Florida hurricane, you will likely face costly repairs and rebuilding work. You may also need to replace your possessions or automobiles, and you could be without a job if your workplace suffered damage. Worse than that, you may be without a place to live in Florida or basic necessities for the days and weeks to come.

With that said, you may be left questioning what you should do next.

Our Martin County Hurricane Claim Attorneys at Whittel & Melton understand the terror you’ve been through, and the loss that goes with hurricanes. We know firsthand how vital it is that you receive the compensation you deserve from your insurance company so that you can start to rebuild your life.

Our goal is to protect you from the insurance company’s habit of protecting their own bottom line. We will aggressively fight for your interests so that you can rebuild after the destruction wrought by Hurricane Irma.

Whether you are a home or business owner located near the Treasure Coast, you understand the risks, but it doesn’t mean you have to settle for less than your insurance policy guarantees should your property be damaged by Hurricane Irma. We stand ready to help you deal with your insurance company, so that you can focus on your life, your home, and your loved ones.

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It’s looking like residents can expect Hurricane Irma to be a category 3 to category 4 storm by the time it reaches Okeechobee County.

Currently, the Okeechobee County Emergency Management team is telling residents that they recommend a voluntary evacuation to low lying areas and areas prone to flooding.

Claims to insurance companies should be answered promptly and policyholders should be fully compensated under the policy terms. Sounds easy enough, right? Sadly, many home and business owners will not have an easy time getting fair settlements for their claims after Hurricane Irma blows through.

Our Okeechobee County Hurricane Claim Attorneys at Whittel & Melton are prepared to help you go to battle against your insurance company, negotiating for maximum legal compensation for Hurricane Irma claims based on:

  • Property damage or property loss
  • Business interruption
  • Structural foundation claims
  • Water damage and mold claims
  • Underpayment or “lowball” settlements

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