In active hurricane seasons, coastal communities may face more than one named storm in a season. Named storm and hurricane deductibles are very high, sometimes as high as 5% of the insured value of the property, which amounts to thousands of dollars in a time of diminished resources. Some states have passed laws to prohibit insurers from applying these high deductibles more than once during the calendar year. After Hurricanes Katrina and Rita impacted Louisiana’s coastal communities within two weeks of each other in 2005, Louisiana passed its Annual Deductible Law.
Continue Reading Louisiana’s Annual Named Storm / Hurricane Deductible Law

After Hurricane Georges hit Puerto Rico in September of 1998, many policyholders considered that their claims were unfairly denied due to the ambiguous language in their policies. The main issue was that the policies did not have a specific deductible language for hurricane damage. If the policy did not have specific deductible language for hurricane, the insurance companies would apply the wind damage deductible but, in some claims, they applied the deductible classified under “basic damages.” Many of the policyholders filed complaints in the Insurance Commissioner’s Office against the insurance companies for the ambiguity in the language related to hurricane damage deductible. Some of those cases were then appealed. Below is what the Court of Appeals of Puerto Rico held in United Surety & Indemnity Company v. Insurance Commissioner of Puerto Rico,1 regarding this issue.
Continue Reading Is it Correct for Your Insurance Company to Consider Windstorm Damage Synonymous with Hurricane Damage?

Deductibles are an unavoidable part of residential insurance policies. Florida case law defines a “deductible” as “a clause in an insurance policy that relieves the insurer of responsibility for an initial specified loss of the kind insured against.”1 Following a loss, a policyholder must first take on the financial responsibility of the deductible before the insurance company becomes liable.
Continue Reading Single-Season Deductibles: A Response to the Frightening 2004 Hurricane Season

The Problem: Waiving insurance policy deductibles (“you scratch my back and I’ll scratch yours”) has been common place in Texas since 1989 and came about as the result of a poorly worded statute passed that same year that contractors have basically ignored. Contractors who have broken the 1989 law by waving deductibles (primarily roofing contractors) are known as “deductible eaters.” Homeowners were lured into signing contracts with the deductible eaters based on promises, for example, of a “free roof.” And then, homeowners/policyholders were duped into committing insurance fraud when in submitting a request pursuant to their policy for replacement cost (RCV) hold-back, they failed to tell their insurance company that the deductible part of the claim had not been incurred. What this means, again for example, before the new law, is that the roof job a homeowner got where the $2000 deductible was waived or “forgiven” and buried in other ways in the contractor’s paperwork, will now be required as payment out-of-pocket and proof that it was paid before the insurer will pay the RCV hold-back.
Continue Reading No Waving of Deductibles Bill: Texas HB 2102

HOUSTON, TX – AUGUST 30: Flooded homes are shown near Lake Houston following Hurricane Harvey August 30, 2017 in Houston, Texas. (Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images)

Named Windstorm deductibles are fairly common in areas prone to hurricanes. Instead of a policyholder being responsible for deductibles which can regularly rise to several thousand dollars, in the event of a named storm, which tropical storms and hurricanes become, a higher Named Windstorm Deductible applies and usually results in a very high deductible. Many Named Windstorm deductibles are on a percentage basis.
Continue Reading Why Do I Have To Pay A Large Named Windstorm Deductible? Confusion With Named Windstorm Deductibles Versus Flood Deductibles In Hurricane Scenarios

A relatively inexperienced attorney from another law firm asked in an open forum whether a Category 5 hurricane mandates that no hurricane deductible can be applied and if Hurricane Michael policyholders can get a return of their hurricane deductible. Corey Harris has been involved in hurricane work with our firm since 2005. He quickly replied that the deductible is going to be returned only if the Easter Bunny is bringing a present.
Continue Reading Hurricane Michael Rumor—Category 5 Status and Deductible Refunds

Louisiana’s Department of Insurance, through its Commissioner, James J. Donelon, issued an Advisory Letter No. 2018-01 on June 18, 2018, to inform all property and casualty insurers how the separate named storm deductibles or hurricane deductibles are to be interpreted and applied to claims resulting from a subtropical storm named by the National Hurricane Center of the National Weather Service.
Continue Reading Insurance Department Guidance on Application of Named Storm / Hurricane Deductibles

Recently, the Second District Court of Appeal affirmed the dismissal of a class action against Omega Insurance Company in which the policyholders asserted that Omega improperly required them to pay a deductible when Omega invoked its right to repair the property.
Continue Reading Policyholder Must Pay Deductible When Insurance Company Invokes Right to Repair a Partial Loss