In the many catastrophes in which we have educated and assisted policyholders in understanding their rights, obligations, and benefits under their policies, we have never seen or heard of insurer non-response like we have in Louisiana after Hurricanes Laura and Delta.
The simplest of a policyholder’s request, a request for a complete policy, has been ignored after repeated requests or unreasonably delayed or partially provided. And, by the same insurer who will seek to deny a claim based upon non-compliance with policy conditions and provisions.
We have written the Louisiana Department of Insurance to request an Advisory Letter be issued to all Louisiana insurers reminding them of their obligation to provide a copy of the insurance policy to the policyholder.1 It is sad that this request is necessary, especially since L.R.S. § 22:41 (16) clearly provides:
§41. Policyholder bill of rights
(16) Policyholders shall have the right to a readable policy, to receive a complete property insurance policy, and to request a duplicate or replacement policy as needed.
Policies vary regarding the trigger for the proof of loss deadline. Many policies require the proof of loss “upon request.” However, some of those “upon request” provisions have been changed in the Louisiana Changes to a “loss date” trigger. For policies which maintain a date of loss trigger, the catastrophe statutory extension only adds a commencement delay for the lifting of civil authority. For many policyholders, the proof of loss deadline is fast approaching as we are nearing the 180-day mark since Hurricane Laura.
Therefore, we have also requested an extension of the catastrophe statutory proof of loss deadline provided in L.R.S. § 22:1264, as many Louisiana policyholders may not be aware of the trigger for the submission of a proof of loss under their policy since they are unable to obtain a copy. If you have the policy, we encourage you to review your policy for deadlines. If you do not have your policy, then write your insurer to request an extension of all deadlines and note the many times you have requested a copy of your policy.
1 Merlin Law Group, P.A., Correspondence to Louisiana Insurance Commissioner, February 22, 2021.