After 8 On Your Side report, family gets 50 times the amount of Hurricane Ian roof damage settlement offer

TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) — Nearly 16 months after Hurricane Ian, a Tampa Bay-area family is finally getting a new roof.

8 On Your Side has been working for months to help this family recover from the storm.

The family called 8 On Your Side because they felt like they were not being treated fairly.

The insurance company said there was less than $3,000 worth of damage. Now, it’s been determined that the family was owed more than 50 times that.

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Hurricane Ian left the town of North Port devastated. The storm’s wind ripped off many roofs including part of Craig Lipaj’s.

“Basically, I just want to be treated fairly, I don’t want anything more, I don’t want nothing less,” said Mr. Lipaj.

Despite dozens of damaged tiles, Craig’s insurance company, UPC, claimed there was $2,735 worth of damage. Craig’s deductible was higher so he got nothing.

A few weeks later, UPC was declared insolvent.

The state, through the Florida Insurance Guaranty Association or FIGA took over the claim.

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Tired of fighting for a fair settlement alone, Craig called 8 On Your Side in July.

Contractors told him the roof must be replaced, not repaired.

“No roofer could even, number one, find the tiles to match up, they don’t make them anymore,” said Craig.

8 On Your Side did multiple stories, exposing Craig’s dilemma. No one would fix the roof or pay to replace it.

“I was a Nationwide Insurance agent in Ohio for 38 years,” said Craig. “I knew how insurance was supposed to work, and this is not how it’s supposed to work.”

Now, 16 months after Hurricane Ian, Craig is finally getting a new roof.

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FIGA has settled the claim for $152,000. That is 50 times more than what the insurance company had offered to pay.

“Well, we’re finally going to get a roof, thanks to you and the station. It’s just a huge relief,” Craig said. “I’m not even sure how they were able to operate for all the years with the way they were lowballing these claims.”

Now, Craig and his wife can finally move on from Hurricane Ian, but they’re both still concerned for neighbors. At least a handful on the block still have shrink wrap on their roofs.

When this insurance company, UPC, went under, FIGA took over more than 20,000 claims.

The executive director of FIGA tells 8 On Your Side investigator Mahsa Saedi that more than eight out of 10 claims have been closed.

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