Puerto Rico Approves Amendments to the Insurance Code to Protect Policyholders and Improve Claim Handling Procedures

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

Keeping Up with Inflation: Does Your Home Have Sufficient Insurance Coverage?

The State of Colorado has always been an attractive destination for people who enjoy the outdoors. Now more than ever, it seems people are choosing Colorado not just for a winter getaway, but as a place to call home. As a result of the market pressure that the ever-increasing population has caused, property values have skyrocketed in the Rockies. For homeowners that means two things: 1) your home is likely worth a lot more than when you purchased it; and 2) you could be woefully underinsured. Continue Reading

Contractors Versus the Insurance industry—AOB’s Are Under Attack

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

Public Adjusters Beware That Non-Compliance with Federal Regulation “Signed and Sworn” Proof of Loss Requirement Will Preclude Recovery of Damages

In a recent case,1 a federal court dismissed a flood claim following a nor’easter storm because the insureds’ proof of loss under the National Flood Insurance Act failed to satisfy the Standard Flood Insurance Policy’s (“SFIP”) “signed and sworn” requirement.2 In that case, the insureds submitted two claims to recover damages from the storm to their insurance company. The first claim of approximately $2,000 was completed on a form provided by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (“FEMA”). Both insureds signed and dated the document, which stated, “I declare under penalty of perjury that the information contained in the foregoing is true and correct to the best of my knowledge and belief.” Shortly thereafter, the insurance company issued a check to the insureds for the covered building damages. Continue Reading

Period of Restoration – Valuing Business Interruption Claims, Part I

Business interruption coverage is very valuable to many policyholders in the wake of Hurricane Michael. Florida business owners may seek coverage under their commercial insurance policies for business interruption, which indemnifies them for lost earnings and expenses if their businesses are partially or totally interrupted as a result of Hurricane Michael. Business interruption coverage is intended to protect the potential earnings of the insured business. Its purpose is “to do for the insured…just what the business itself would have done if no interruption had occurred—no more.”1 Continue Reading

Wildfire Considered One Occurrence Despite Damaging Numerous Properties

Photo by Kevin Hurd and AP

Photo by Kevin Hurd and AP

A recent decision by the Supreme Court of Wisconsin1 might predict how other courts would analyze coverage under commercial general liability insurance policies for wildfires. In May 2013, a fire broke out on forest land owned by Lyme St. Croix Forest Company. The fire burned nearly 7,500 acres over the course of three days and damaged real and personal property owned by various individuals and businesses. Continue Reading

Bad Faith May Arise Out Of Wrongful Misrepresentation in Application Denial

Suspicion runs rampant with some insurance companies when it comes to alleged arson. Even if they cannot prove the policyholder had anything to do with a fire, some adjusters cannot help to look for other ways to deny an insurance claim. In Hayes vs. Metropolitan Property and Casualty Insurance Company,1 an insurer was held liable for bad faith denial of an insurance claim even though the policyholder did not win the breach of contract action because the policyholder failed to file his lawsuit within the one-year statute of limitations. Continue Reading

What Every Policyholder Has To Know About Their Hurricane Michael Loss

In the wake of Hurricane Michael, some policyholders are starting to see a response from their insurance companies for their home and business losses. The extent and the magnitude of the damages that Hurricane Michael caused has been captured by some media outlets but down played by others. Many of those dealing directly with the destruction and the devastation are resilient and taking it one day at a time but had placed a sense of hope on the premium dollars they had spent paying for insurance coverage and have long awaited the insurance company’s response and action. Continue Reading

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