On August 27, 2020, one month ago, Hurricane Laura made landfall causing catastrophic damage in Southwest Louisiana and beyond. For those who remained or were able to return quickly, it must seem a lot longer. Many of those may have been able to notify their insurers of their loss as soon as communications were restored. And, soon the damage estimates based upon the insurer’s investigation of their losses will begin to trickle in.
Continue Reading Determining Replacement Cost and Actual Cash Value in Louisiana

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

As roadways are cleared of trees and debris and the downed power lines removed, residents begin returning to an unrecognizable community, their home, all landmarks destroyed in the heavily impacted areas. It is like a dream as they begin to navigate lost and in shock. Then, there it is: a remnant of what used to be a home, a business, a school, a store, the townhall—all destroyed. But resolve settles in with determination: “We have insurance. We’ll just rebuild.” And, it begins.
Continue Reading Duty of Good Faith and Fair Dealing After Hurricane Laura – What Now and How Long?

Insurance claims education is important for everybody in the property insurance claims business. Insurance restoration contractors, independent, company and public adjusters, as well as insurance defense and policyholder attorneys should be constantly learning so we can serve the public trust and make the insurance claim business work to fulfill the public’s expectation. “Insurance serves the public trust” is a statement of law found in most states, including Louisiana.
Continue Reading Can Chip Merlin Answer 21 Hurricane Laura Claims Questions in 15 Minutes? Watch Friday @2 With Chip Merlin to Find Out

Deborah Trotter was working with me in New Orleans following Hurricane Katrina. Most of my time was spent with the Port of New Orleans litigation. She was trying to explain to me how codes were predominant, and that Louisiana common law took second place to Civil Law—meaning what was written in the Codes.
Continue Reading Hurricane Laura and the Unique Louisiana Property Insurance Law

In the aftermath of a devastating storm, when lives are upended and memories are scattered about, light and hope do arrive. They arrive in many forms, including: through first responders who clear the way and answer the call from every state in our great nation and beyond; through family and friends who make a way to care for their own; through those who have made it their life’s work and business to aid in disaster recovery efforts; and through the many volunteers who freely give of their energy and resources to aid their fellow beings in their most challenging times. But, sadly, among them also are wolves in sheep’s clothing.
Continue Reading Disaster Relief: Is a Post-Loss Anti-Assignment Clause Prohibited in Louisiana?

Note: This guest blog post is by Holly Soffer, Esq., a policyholder attorney and General Counsel to the American Association of Public Insurance Adjusters.

Great food, friendly people, charm, and character all combine to make Louisiana wonderfully unique. What also makes Louisiana unique is its set of laws. Historically, Louisiana law is largely based upon the Napoleonic Code, instead of the English common law, as is the rest of the U.S. The public adjuster law is no exception.
Continue Reading Public Adjusting in Louisiana

Earl Carr has a story every public adjuster practicing in Louisiana should read. He lives in Louisiana and I met him following Florida’s four 2004 hurricanes. The following year, Katrina devastated Louisiana. Earl was busy and even started a radio show which I once appeared on discussing property insurance claim issues.
Continue Reading Warning! Public Adjusters Thinking of Working in Louisiana Should First Read the Case of Earl Carr

This past weekend I was asked the question above. This is what I found in Louisiana. On March 26, 2020, by Proclamation No. JBE 2020-37, Louisiana Governor John Bel Edwards transferred certain insurance matters to Commissioner of Insurance James J. Donelon. Commissioner Donelon quickly instituted reasonable emergency measures to address the growing concerns of Louisiana’s residents through Emergency Rule 40 – Moratorium on Policy Cancellations and Non-Renewals for Policyholders in Louisiana during the Outbreak of Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19) (“Rule 40”).1
Continue Reading Louisiana–COVID-19 Pandemic Relief: My Mortgage is Deferred, What about My Insurance Premiums?