A key coverage issue for the insurance industry will come to the fore as adjusters try to assess damage, and one insurance department has already provided some direction for insurers. The Commissioner of Insurance in Mississippi has issued a Bulletin concerning the settlement of homeowners claims in his state (see here). Key points:
…homeowners policies offered throughout the United States generally contain a water damage exclusion.
It will be a fact issue whether the loss was caused by wind or water.
… the insurance company must be able to clearly demonstrate the cause of the loss.
…where there is any doubt, that doubt will be resolved in favor of finding coverage…
…where…the damage was caused by water, I expect the insurance company to be able to prove… that the damage was caused by water and not wind.
…I ask that the insurance industry construe coverage issues in a manner that will afford coverage to as many of our citizens as possible.
Flood insurance can mitigate this problem, but it is likely that many homeowners with loss from water damage did not purchase flood insurance, although the numbers may vary between different areas.
“We estimate about 40 percent of properties have flood insurance - and virtually all the damage caused in New Orleans was by floods, not winds,” a FEMA spokesman said. From MSNBC (see here).
Homeowner claims from Katrina are going to be a problem for the industry because of this very significant coverage issue. On an account by account basis it is easy to see how coverage accommodations might be made, but it is going to be very costly for the industry on a macro basis if this practice is followed. The adjusters are going be under tremendous pressure to get it right, quickly, with difficult access. And cat reinsurers will not likely support any significant deviation from coverage.
Our hope is that the insurance industry is fair and reasonable in its handling of claims from Katrina.
eSpecialty Insurance is your specialty insurance expert. We have developed a streamlined marketplace to provide multiple proposals from a range of competitive insurers, along with expertise to help you evaluate your exposures and choose the best combination of comprehensive coverage and price. We look forward to working with you.
Indeed water damage is not included in homeowner’s policies. This sometimes can become a serious coverage issue.
Posted by: Home Inspection Tampa | August 29, 2009 at 07:05 AM
another beaming example of powerful corporations squeezing the little guy and choosing to litigate rather than meet their financial responsibilities; the good 'new' capitalistic way. it's a very calculated path; how many individuals have the financial resources, time or emotional reserves to climb that legal mountain.
it's becoming a tired story; we get it from the oil companies, credit card companies, health insurers, our neighborhood banks; seems to be the norm rather than the exception among corporate America today. it's not enough to earn a fair rate, the idea is to crawl into every American pocket and take more by deceptive practice; then place the
burden on the individual to prove corporate actions unlawful. in so many instances the judicial process is grossly influenced by the depth of pockets. these 'trusting and honorable' corporate business tactics are perpetuated by our legislators and lawmakers, who, obviously represent the best interests of their constituents. leaves the little guy with few options.
when the little guy is continually taken advantage of, with nowhere to turn, he will either fade away or fight back. the assertive individual will do his homework, researching the public record on select unscrupulous corporations, meticulously taking names and addresses and visiting these corporate decision makers in their workplace and on the darkened streets of their home-towns where there is no hiding behind the corporate banner.
when we loose our way concerning 'right and wrong' in society, maybe there's much to be said for creative 'schoolyard justice' concerning personal accountability for poor human behavior.
Posted by: philip jewell | April 03, 2006 at 12:14 PM