PUNTA GORDA, Fla. — An insurance village event returned to Punta Gorda Wednesday at the Charlotte Harbor Event and Conference Center, almost one year after Hurricane Ian left its mark on the area.
One person in attendance was Terry Beggs, who said that after enduring one of the hardest years of his life, he’s thrilled to finally receive some help.
“One year later I’m getting good news and I’m really really happy I came,” said Beggs.
A year ago, Beggs came back to his house to find extensive damage from Ian. Even though his floors and roof were all but destroyed, he said he and his wife went to work helping their friends.
“While I was outside checking on the neighbors, she ended up falling in the wreckage and breaking her right thigh. She had to be sent up to Sarasota hospitals, and through…complications… she died five weeks later."
Beggs said this heartbreaking turn of events compounded his struggles, especially with the insurance process. He said it took until February to receive a check for the damages to his home. However, the check was written out to his wife, and before he could have it changed, his provider went into receivership.
To make home repairs, Beggs said he had to use some of his wife’s life insurance money.
“It’s been a tough year,” Beggs admitted.
So, Beggs made the trip out to the insurance village event, determined to get help. He said he met Dr. Godfrey, who got his adjuster on the phone and set up an appraiser to come out and assess his home. Beggs says this is a step in the right direction.
"I can see light for the first time since... well... tomorrow will be a year," Beggs said optimistically.
Tasha Carter, Florida's Insurance Consumer Advocate, spoke about the importance of face-to-face interactions at events like the insurance village.
"Being able to have a dialogue and get a better understanding and clarity on what needs to happen for their claim to move forward is vitally important to a policyholder who has been going through the claims process for nearly a year," she explained.
Carter talked about two of the main problems people come to the insurance village with: lapses in communication between policyholders and insurance providers, and dissatisfaction with settlement offers. She said she and her team work hard to foster positive resolutions to these issues.
These events serve as beacons of hope for people like Terry Beggs, offering a pathway to recovery. The next two insurance villages being held in Fort Myers at Florida Southwestern State College on Thursday and Friday.