PANAMA CITY, Fla. (WMBB)–As the one year anniversary of Hurricane Michael passes, residents across the Panhandle are still suffering from unsettled insurance claims. Hurting their recovery process and livelihood. But Florida’s Chief Financial Officer is trying to help by holding insurance villages in Bay County.

The top insurance companies from across the Panhandle all gathered in one room Friday with one goal in mind.

“The purpose of today’s event is to bring together 29 insurance companies that have the highest number of open Hurricane Michael claims in Bay County,” said Tasha Carter, Florida’s Insurance Consumer Advocate.
Due to the results of the category five storm, there are still 17,000 open claims.

The insurance villages, held at the FSU Panama City campus, focus on settling these claims once and for all.

“Last time that we were here was in mid-August and over the course of the 2 day time frame, we saw about 450 insurance consumers and after they walked out with checks in hand totaling about 2.4 million dollars,” Carter said.

Insurance professionals say coming to these open events can streamline the process; saving consumers time and money.

“There’s no substitute for face to face. You can email, you can talk by phone. But to sit down with and talk with someone and sort things out is really the way to negotiate,” said Lisa Miller, Insurance Consultant.

If you plan on attending, its important to make sure you have everything you need a head of time.

“So they should bring any documentation that they have associated with their claim. If they have contractors estimate, or engineers reports, any type of receipts that may need to be submitted for reimbursement,” Carter said.