A raíz de la catástrofe causada por los huracanes Irma y María, surgió la necesidad de revisar el proceso de reclamaciones ante las aseguradoras en aras de hacer este uno más eficiente. Es por esto que, el gobierno ha trabajado en métodos que ayudarán a mejorar los procedimientos de manejo de reclamaciones ante las aseguradoras. Siguiendo múltiples modelos de varias jurisdicciones de los Estados Unidos, los asegurados en Puerto Rico ahora tendrán herramientas adicionales de protección y que facilitarán la resolución de sus reclamaciones, tanto de propiedades residenciales como aquellas que sean comerciales. Recientemente, el Gobernador aprobó enmiendas al Código de Seguros de Puerto Rico para su inmediata aplicación. Dichas enmiendas pretenden solucionar el atraso y aclarar las ambigüedades que han afectado el proceso de recuperación y resolución de reclamaciones de forma justa y adecuada para el consumidor. A continuación, un breve resumen de las enmiendas realizadas al Código de Seguros ahora disponibles para el beneficio de los asegurados en Puerto Rico:
Continue Reading Puerto Rico Aprueba Enmiendas Al Código de Seguros Para Proteger A Los Asegurados Y Mejorar Los Procedimientos Para Solucionar Reclamaciones

After the catastrophe caused by Hurricanes Irma and Maria, there was a need for an efficient recovery process. The government has worked on methods to improve the way insurance claims are handled. Following models from multiple jurisdictions in the United States, Puerto Rico will now have available more protections and resolution methods for property and commercial policyholders. Several amendments to the Puerto Rico Insurance Code have been approved and signed for immediate application to help solve the delay and ambiguity that has affected the process of recovery. Below is a brief summary of each amended law now available for the benefit of policyholders in Puerto Rico:
Continue Reading Puerto Rico Approves Amendments to the Insurance Code to Protect Policyholders and Improve Claim Handling Procedures

The National Association of Public Insurance Adjusters held its mid-year meeting last week and the topic of assignment of benefits, commonly referred to as AOB’s, was on the agenda. Lisa Miller, an insurance lobbyist and regulator I have come across for over twenty-five years was the speaker on the topic.
Continue Reading Contractors Versus the Insurance industry—AOB’s Are Under Attack

The Florida Department of Financial Services (DFS) has issued an email authorizing Florida licensed public adjusters to hire anybody to make estimates of damage. This email corrects my latest two blogs which indicated that the OIR wanted to prevent those not licensed from working on insurance claims by determining valuations of loss and estimates of damage.
Continue Reading Florida Department of Insurance Says Anybody Hired By a Licensed Public Adjuster Can Participate in Preparing an Insurance Claim By Writing the Insurance Estimates of Damage

Florida Insurance Commissioner David Altmaier

Florida Attorney General Candidate Sean Shaw and I collaborated and drafted language that made people making the values, numbers, scopes of loss or directly or indirectly, helping determine an insurance claim amount, have an attorney license or a public adjuster license. We wanted to better protect consumers and help stop allegations of or actual insurance fraud from occurring.
Continue Reading Writing Estimates or Aiding in the Preparation of a Hurricane Michael Claim Requires a Public Adjuster License

Rep. Sean Shaw
Rep. Sean Shaw

House Bill 911, effective January 1, 2018, was filed by Representative Sean Shaw and enacted by the Florida Legislature to amend Fla. Stat. § 626.854, which protects policyholders through the regulation of public adjusters. Chip Merlin discussed this new law in detail in his post on July 2, 2017. In requiring public adjusters to be licensed by the State of Florida and defining the scope of their services, the Florida Legislature also excluded the growing practice of unlicensed public adjusting and the unauthorized practice of law. By defining what a licensed public adjuster can do for policyholders, the amended law notifies contractors, vendors, accountants, and others known after a catastrophe to unlawfully solicit business to act in the scope of a public adjuster. One service to policyholders that was recently questioned was whether an appraiser is required to be licensed in Florida. In the answer to this question, many others will find the answer to other services related to public adjusters, which do require a license.
Continue Reading Are Property Insurance Appraisers Regulated? – A Reminder of Recently Enacted HB 911 for Those Heading to Florida to Assist with Hurricane Michael

In a recent op-ed article published in the Star Ledger, Rutgers Law Professor Jay Feinman debunked the myth that insurance companies have been using for decades to prevent good faith claims handling bills from passing through the legislature. As Feinman noted, insurance companies argue that the Insurance Fair Conduct Act (IFCA) is unnecessary and would be harmful, suggesting the bill would dramatically raise insurance premiums.
Continue Reading Rutgers Law Professor Debunks Notion of Increased Premiums With New Jersey Fair Conduct Act

Last month, California passed legislation that requires residential property insurers to take specific measures to review the estimated cost of rebuilding or repairing structures insured under residential property insurance policies. Assembly Bill 1797 added section 10103.4 to California’s Insurance Code. With certain, limited exceptions, under the new statute, residential property insurers must, at least biennially, at the time of renewal of a policy, offer to provide the insured an updated estimate of the cost to rebuild or replace the insured structures, or offer updated coverage limits based on an inflation factor that reflects the cost of construction in the policyholder’s geographic area.
Continue Reading California Passes Law Requiring Insurance Companies Take Specific Measures To Periodically Review The Estimated Replacement Cost Of Structures Insured Under Residential Property Insurance Policies

Recently, the New Jersey Senate passed S-2144, entitled the New Jersey Insurance Fair Conduct Act. While the bill still must go through the Assembly and be signed by the Governor, this is much welcomed news by insureds and their representatives. Since 1993, insureds have had basically no right to bad faith claims against their insurers under the blanket of the Picket v. Lloyd “fairly debatable” standard.1
Continue Reading New Jersey Senate Passes Bad Faith Bill

As many Californians continue to repair, rebuild, and regain financial health after the disasters throughout the State, many are looking at insurance reform as a solution for the future. Insurers should provide the funds due to individuals and businesses after a disaster, but as surveys have shown, these funds don’t always flow as they should.1
Continue Reading Why California Insurance Reform Can Improve Disaster Recovery in the Future