This years Hurricane season has done tremendous damage to residents located in parts of the South and Gulf Coast regions of the United States. Hurricane Katrina specifically turned residents lives upside down in Alabama, Georgia, Florida, Louisiana, Mississippi and Tennessee. Thousands of people’s homes in this area were devastated and destroyed, making it extremely burdensome for victims to get insurance claims paid.
Insurance companies have a propensity to treat claimants more justly when the playing field is leveled and the insurer is conscious that the claimant has legal representation. The most valuable process of dealing with your insurance company is to have a lawyer on your side before you first speak to your insurance company.
According to the law, insurance companies are obligates to handle your claim with good faith and fair dealing. We purchase insurance to grant aid in times when we need help the most. It is unconscionable that insurance companies choose profits over helping their clients who have paid substantial money for coverage.
Louisiana makes it mandatory for insurers to make a written offer
Alabama, Louisiana, Mississippi and the majority of other states have laws governing how insurance companies must deal with claimants. Louisiana makes it mandatory for insurers to make a written offer to resolve a property damage claim within 30 days after receipt of a "satisfactory proof of loss" for the claim. If the insurance company fails to do this and it has no reason for failing to do so, the company may owe penalties of up to 25% on the amount due.
Even when insurance companies respond within 30 days, they are denying claims left and right. Homeowners insurance typically doesn’t cover floods resulting from a hurricane. Therefore, the National Flood Insurance Program generally covers flood damage. Most homeowner’s policies include a sentence excluding flood, surface water, waves, tidal water, overflow of a body of water or spray from any of these.
Homeowners insurance though does cover things such as wind damage and damage from wind-driven rain. Insurers are using the disclaimer about flooding to get out of paying claims on homes damaged only by wind. Many inland residents of places like Baton Rouge are finding that their claims are being denied and that their insurers are citing their flooding disclaimer. This denial of homeowner’s claims in non-flooded areas is a bad faith practice.