Tuesday, December 14, 2004

Adding Up the Numbers

Glenn Singer of the Sun-Sentinel today follows up with some hard numbers on the reported promise of Citizens Insurance to resolve all outstanding hurricane damage claims by December 31.

"Overall," she writes, "Citizens received 112,000 claims from the four hurricanes that struck Florida this year." This is out of "882,000 policies in force."

Earlier, the Florida Financial Services Department reported receiving 4,100 complaints by the first week of December. Assuming each complaint represents an unresolved claim -- a reasonable assumption -- with 17 days to year's end that works out to more than 241 claims that need to be resolved every single day.

Or, to put it another way, one claim needs to be resolved every two minutes. And that's based on the usual 8-hour state work day for 17 straight days, weekends and Christmas Day included.

If you think that seems formidable, consider the fact that many of the 108,000 remaining customers probably have not yet come to the point of filing a formal complaint although their claims remain unresolved. Certainly, some of them must have been settled by now. Even if only a quarter of the total of 112,000 claims are still open (no sure thing it's so low), that still leaves 28,000 unresolved cases.

If that's about right, Citizens' promised claim-closing rate would have to increase to 1,647 per day, or a rate of 3.4 claim resolutions per minute per day for 17 straight 8-hour days.

On second thought, maybe not. Maybe all Citizens really has to do is keep making those promises until the legislature goes home at the end of this week.

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