‘I can sleep tonight’: Ian survivors finding solutions at Insurance Villages

FORT MYERS, Fla. — Throughout the week, insurance experts have been setting up shop at what they call “insurance villages” in Southwest Florida, designed specifically to help Hurricane Ian and Hurricane Nicole victims.

Today, these experts closed out the week in Fort Myers at Florida Southwestern College.

This week alone, up to 16 carriers at the event have paid out nearly $4 million in hurricane-related claims, according to the Florida Department of Consumer Services.

“The key is getting the insurance companies here so they can meet with folks make sure the companies know that the expectations are to resolve claims,” said Greg Thomas, State Director of Consumer Services. “They are aware of our presence here and we are talking to the consumers as they come in and come out. We are asking the consumers if they had success and if they feel like they aren’t getting success, and if we’re seeing a trend then maybe we’ll have a conversation with that particular carrier.”

Fox 4 heard from a Fort Myers resident at the event today who got full coverage for her mother after more than two months and working with five different adjusters.

“Ten-minute conversation, and now I have full roof replacement for my mom,” said Michelle Way, getting choked up. “As a daughter with a mother who has been stressing… this is great.”

Way’s mother’s complex sustained soffit and roof damage from the storm, and the Homeowners Association is requiring all roofs be replaced. Way nearly in tears as she said it was a relief to be able to speak to someone face-to-face and actually get the coverage her mom needs.

“I can sleep tonight,” Way said with relief in her eyes. “It was a 10 minute conversation and now I have full roof replacement for my mom. As a daughter with a mother who has been stressing, this is great.”

Fox 4 also spoke with a Punta Gorda woman who, until last night, didn’t know about the event. After getting a call from her roofer, Donna Briles showed up today with documents in hand, husband by her side and her roofer ready to talk with providers about the cost of repairs.

Briles got full coverage from her frontline insurance today — now, she’s just waiting on the check.

“This whole time I was getting discouraged,” she said. “I told my neighbors I’d dance in the street tonight, so I think I’m going to have to do a dance.”

Tomorrow is the last day to take advantage of this event. Providers will be on campus at FSW, 8099 College Parkway, AA177, Ft. Myers, Florida, 33919, from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m.

Policyholders should bring as much documentation as they can, including:

  • A driver’s license or other form of identification (Passport/State issued ID)
  • Insurance cards and insurance policy information/documentation
  • Pictures or documentation of the property being claimed as a loss resulting from Hurricane Ian
  • Repair estimates
  • Any additional insurance-related information that is readily accessible. 

NOTE: Due to space limitations, the insurance village will exclusively focus on insurance related issues and staff from other agencies will not be present to assist with other post-storm benefits. For more information visit www.FloridaDisaster.org.

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