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The number of claims filed from Hurricane Ian continues to rise, topping 449,000 as of Monday, and estimated insured losses stand at more than $4.2 billion, the Florida Office of Insurance Regulation reported.

Some 322,268 claims – almost three quarters of the total – have been from residential property owners. Commercial property claims have come to 12,362 so far, and private flood insurance claims have amounted to less than 1,440, the OIR reported on its website.

About 8.5% of claims have been closed.

The number of claims is expected to rise many-fold and has already far outpaced the 158,991 claims filed after Hurricane Michael, which struck the Florida Panhandle in 2018 and resulted in more than $9 billion in estimated insured losses, the office said. Hurricane Irma, which tracked across a large part of Florida in 2017, led to 1.1 million claims, mostly from residential properties, and triggered $20.7 billion in estimated insured losses.

Hurricane Ian, which made landfall near Fort Myers, Florida on Sept. 28, is projected to cause more than $67 billion in insured losses, according to some estimates.

Meanwhile, Citizens Property Insurance Corp. announced that it has begun complying with an emergency order issued by OIR last week that bars policy cancellations for another six weeks.

In a bulletin to agents, Citizens officials said Monday, Oct. 10, that cancellation notices issued or mailed Sept. 18 through Sept. 27 will be withdrawn and reissued after Nov. 28, in keeping with the OIR order.

The Florida Association of Insurance Agents reported that Citizens said it cannot non-renew a policy until after Nov. 28. Premiums for the extension period must be paid, but won’t be billed until after that date. But if policyholders wish to remain with Citizens, any premium amounts already owed should be paid by then to ensure continued coverage, the bulletin explained.

Citizens will resume cancellations for non-payment after Nov. 28, four days after the Thanksgiving holiday.

“If you do not want to extend your coverage to Nov. 28, 2022, or already have insurance with another insurance company replacing your Citizens coverage, please let your agent know,” the Citizens website noted.

Photo: Roof tarps are seen far and wide in hard-hit Fort Myers. (AP Photo/Alex Menendez)

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