As mentioned previously in my blog post, Accord & Satisfaction: Will My Insurance Claim Be Dismissed If I Deposit A payment (July 21, 2019), many policyholders in Puerto Rico that received payments deposited them without being aware of the consequences of accord and satisfaction. This has also been a common issue on many complaints filed in court and the reason many cases are being dismissed. Fortunately, The Appellate Court (Panel V) on October 24, 2019, just reversed the decision in Negron v. MAPFRE PRAICO Insurance Company, regarding Accord and Satisfaction.
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After Hurricane Maria, many policyholders in Puerto Rico received payments for the damages caused by the hurricane, and due to the need for repairs to their property, they immediately deposited the checks. The problem with depositing these checks was many included the words “final” or “the endorsement of this check constitutes a total and definitive payment” and without any further explanation, these were mailed and handed to the policyholders. When a policyholder is not satisfied and considers that a property claim is being underpaid, he/she must notify the carrier and ask the consequences of signing and depositing the check.
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Many Policyholders in Puerto Rico are concerned about the notifications of non-renewal or cancellations they received after Hurricane Maria claims. This is a matter that affects both residential and commercial Policyholders. The process of obtaining insurance coverage from a different insurance company can be even more difficult when repairs related to a prior claim have not been completed.
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Condado is a diverse community in San Juan, Puerto Rico, that is 7 miles long but well known by tourists for hotels, restaurants and beaches. For the locals this area it is also known for its numerous condominiums, which were greatly affected in 2017 by Hurricane Maria. To this date, many of the insurance companies have not paid or continue denying coverage to condominium policyholders in this area.
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For some time now, people have been keeping a close eye on several of Puerto Rico’s major insurance carriers due to rumors of insolvency. One of those insurance carriers, Real Legacy Assurance, has unfortunately confirmed these rumors and recently filed for liquidation. According to reports, the carrier has paid nearly $40 million dollars to settle approximately 630 claims – however, many more Hurricane Irma and Maria claims remain unresolved.1
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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:
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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:
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