Condado is a diverse community in San Juan, Puerto Rico, that is 7 miles long but well known by tourists for hotels, restaurants and beaches. For the locals this area it is also known for its numerous condominiums, which were greatly affected in 2017 by Hurricane Maria. To this date, many of the insurance companies have not paid or continue denying coverage to condominium policyholders in this area.
Due to the insurance companies delay, underpayment or denial, the community of Condado has organized a Non-Profit organization called “Condado en mi Corazon” (Condado in my heart), this organization has not only worked together to get roads and lights fixed but has caught the attention of politicians and leaders involved in identifying the issues with insurances companies not responding to policyholders.
A few weeks ago, this non-profit organization invited all the community of Condado to their “Insurance Recovery Info-Seminar.” One of the main speakers in this info-seminar was Javier Rivera, Puerto Rico’s Insurance Commissioner, who is also a resident of this area of San Juan. In his speech the Insurance Commissioner discussed the new approved legislation under the Insurance Code (please see my blog on this topic published on December 5, 2018: Puerto Rico Approves Amendments to the Insurance Code to Protect Policyholders and Improve Claim Handling Procedures). These laws have been declared by the Governor of Puerto Rico as retroactive to all Hurricane Irma and Maria claims. The Insurance Commissioner also discussed how his office managed claims after Hurricane Maria including, but not limited to, residential claims.
Many of the attendees in this info-seminar were the Board of Directors of condominiums of this area of San Juan who are still struggling to get their insurance companies to pay for repairs to return the condominiums to the condition they were before Hurricane Maria. Many issues have arisen for condominium policyholders since the 2017 disaster that have uncovered years of misrepresentations in their policies. For example, many unit owners have been denied coverage because their policy misrepresented their unit classification (commercial/residential/all inclusive) and this “error” now costs out of pocket expenses to the unit owners who believed their property was covered by insurance. This is one of the many reasons the Insurance Commissioner is focusing on new laws that will protect and give more insurance options for condominiums and unit policyholders.
As a condominium policyholder, it is important you understand the type of insurance coverage you have and need. There are different types of insurance for condominiums, many of them only apply to common areas, and each unit owner is responsible to acquire a separate insurance policy that will apply to any or all interior damage.