Insurance Commissioner Ralph Hudgens reported Thursday that insured losses from Hurricane Irma in the state of Georgia exceeded $300 million, after more than 50,000 property related insurance claims had been reported 

“Our preliminary estimate today is $336 million in damage across Georgia. That figure may rise as new claims are submitted,” Commissioner Hudgens said.

Officials said approximately 56,941 claims have been filed with insurance companies and policyholders have received $77,467,340 in settlement payments.

Most of the damage reported was related to homeowners insurance.

Officials urge customers with damage from Hurricane Irma to take the following steps to begin the claims-filing process: 

  • Work with your insurance company. Ask what documents, forms, and data you will need to file a claim. Keep a diary of all conversations with insurance companies, creditors or relief agencies.
  • Maintain any damaged personal property for the adjuster to inspect.
  • Ask the adjuster for an itemized explanation of the claim settlement offer.
  • Be wary of contractors who demand upfront payment before work is initiated or payment in full before work is completed. If the contractor needs payment to buy supplies, go with the contractor and pay the supplier directly.
  • Get more than one bid. Ask for at least three references. Check with the Better Business Bureau about the contractor. Ask for proof of necessary licenses, building permits, insurance, and bonding. Record the license plate number and driver’s license number of the contractor.
  • If there is a disagreement about a claim, ask the company for the specific language in the policy in question and determine why you and the company interpret your policy differently.
  • If the first offer made by an insurance company does not meet your expectations, be prepared to negotiate to get a fair settlement

Customers are also urged to call 1-800-656-2298, if they feel they have been treated unfairly in getting a claim paid. Phone lines are open Monday through Friday, from 8:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m.