As the insurance industry approaches the five-month mark fromthe appearance of Hurricane Charley, there is good news and badnews. The good news is that a large number of the claims filed as aresult of the four hurricanes have been resolved. The bad news isthat, for those claimants still waiting, frustrations are mountingand, in many cases, finances are getting tight.

“There's a slowing process of payments and, I would say, thatit's slowed down with advance payments and even finalization ofclaims,” said Ray Altieri, CEO of Transco American Claims in Tampa,Fla., and two-time president of the National Association of PublicInsurance Adjusters. “We have not seen a good turnover of filesfrom the insurance carriers and it's across the board.”

To a large extent, Altieri blames the sheer volume of claims. Hepointed out that, although more than 1.5 million claims have beenfiled, the Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates the total number ofadjusters currently working in the United States at 241,000, with14,000 of those being auto damage appraisers. “We believe thatthere's just been an overwhelming need from all areas of theindustry, and there's only so much that these insurance companiescan do,” he said.

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