It has been two years since Hurricane Maria struck and caused catastrophic damage in Puerto Rico. Since then, many policyholders have been struggling to get the reasonable payment owed under their policy to make repairs, but the number of policyholders with unsettled property claims is still very high.
There were many lessons learned after this catastrophe but, do policyholders understand what they should do during this hurricane season? A few weeks ago, Hurricane Dorian (still a storm) passed near Puerto Rico and many policyholders were worried because repairs from Maria had not been made due to the delay, denial, and underpaid claims by many insurance companies.
Policyholders still trying to negotiate or settle their Hurricane Maria claims were worried and one of the most common questions was: How would it affect their pending claim if another storm or hurricane during this season damaged their property? It is important to follow up with the process you are currently involved in, such as: any reconsideration process, litigation, and/or appeals.
If another storm or hurricane causes damage within the pending settlement period, you will need to open a separate claim for the new damages. First, you should confirm if your current policy is paid and active. Second, verify your coverage. Third, identify the new damages. It is always important to take exterior and interior pictures of the property before and after any storm.
Keep in mind that Puerto Rico has new laws and the Insurance Code has been amended. Therefore, once you receive a response from the insurance company, if you are unsatisfied with the insurer’s response or the insurer unfairly handled your new claim, you should fill out a form that must be submitted to the Insurance Commissioner’s office. If your new insurance claim has not been settled after 90 days, you can then proceed with other options, such as arbitration and/ or litigation.
Unfortunately, some claims take longer to solve than others. During this process, policyholders should not be afraid to ask questions to clear any doubts related to their insurance claim.