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Orlando Sentinel: Hurricane Michael Losses in Florida Panhandle reach nearly $7 billion

Estimated insured losses in Florida from last year’s Hurricane Michael, which pounded the Florida Panhandle with Category 5 winds, have topped $6.9 billion, according to the state Office of Insurance Regulation.

As of Friday, estimated insured losses were $6,906,918,311, up about $250 million from a report at the end of June.

In all, 148,347 claims had been filed from the devastating hurricane, which made landfall Oct. 10 in Mexico Beach and caused massive damage there, in Panama City Beach and other parts of the Panhandle.

Maximum sustained winds from the strongest storm ever to hit the region reached 161 mph, according to the National Weather Service.

As of Friday, 20,484 claims, or 13.8 percent, remained open, the state numbers show.

Insurance Commissioner David Altmaier expressed concerns last week to Gov. Ron DeSantis and the state Cabinet about the number of unresolved claims.

“From a regulatory standpoint, we’ve made it clear to the industry that we will look very unfavorably on any insurance company who appears to be dragging their feet, so to speak, in their efforts to close these claims,” Altmaier said. “I know the industry is aware their reputation is at stake here.”

Bay County has had 88,830 claims, with 17 percent remaining open as of Friday, the report said.

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