Here on the coast of Louisiana, we are no strangers to hurricanes and large storm systems. As we enter the 2022 hurricane season, hurricane damages from previous seasons are still very much alive in our memory – Laura, Ida, and Katrina, just to name a few – because of the sheer amount of damage, flooding, and chaos they created.
Maintaining Adequate Hurricane Insurance Coverage
As prone as we are to these large weather systems, we know the necessity of being properly prepared for these storms and maintaining adequate insurance coverage for windstorms, flooding, and personal property.
But what happens when you have trouble collecting on a claim with your insurance carrier after having sustained hurricane damage?
After a big system, it stands to reason that the industry is backed up with claims, but insurance companies are required to respond to claims within a certain amount of time. If your insurance company hasn’t responded to your claim, or if it has denied or undervalued your claim, it may be acting in bad faith. This is when it is critical to seek the advice of a hurricane damage attorney.
Not Always “Like a Good Neighbor”
Although an insurance company’s main objective is to process claims as fast as possible, settle, and get released from their obligation, after a large damaging weather system, they are usually overwhelmed with claims. But there is a fine line between being patient with your insurance company and being the victim of bad faith.
After a claim is made, your insurance company has a legal obligation to respond to your claim under a specific timeline. But as large, for-profit corporations, insurance does not always act “like a good neighbor,” despite the advertising. The insurance industry is always trying to find ways to mitigate financial exposure and hold on to profits. Consequently, policyholders often find themselves fighting to get their claim fairly settled after a hurricane.
Are You Seeing Red Flags?
If the insurance company has not responded to your claim in a timely manner, if you have settled but no check has been forthcoming, or if the company has come back with a partial or full denial, it may be time to get legal advice to discuss your options.
While insurance claims can be frustrating for everyone and require some patience, it is important to get the assistance of a hurricane damage attorney when claim disputes and bad faith practices arise.
If you have hit an impasse with your claim or suspect bad faith from your insurance company, a hurricane damage attorney can hold the company legally accountable for the benefits you are entitled to under your policy.
What Is Insurance Bad Faith?
In Louisiana, we have insurance laws that protect policyholders from bad faith insurance companies. Under Louisiana Revised Statute § 22:1973, insurance companies are legally obligated to process claims in a timely and efficient way and to make reasonable efforts to settle them fairly.
You may need the assistance of a hurricane damage attorney if:
- Your insurance company has not initiated an adjustment after 60 days of your claim or 30 days after your submission of proof of loss.
- Your adjuster has misrepresented the terms of the policy.
- You have received an outright denial of coverage.
- The insurance company has failed to cover losses under your policy, and negotiations have not been fruitful.
- The insurance company is disputing the source of your water damage, i.e., flood water must be from rising water, and regular coverage should cover water damage from wind or rain.
- You have gotten a denial based on wear and tear or improper maintenance.
- They are asking for a release on a claim or check, indicating it is full payment before you know the full extent of the damage – some storm damages take time to become obvious, and you don’t want to release them from benefits right away.
- The insurance company is asking for a release before you have resolved disputes.
If your insurance company has acted in bad faith, they may not only be forced to settle your claim reasonably, but they may also be held liable for all attorney’s fees and other penalties.
Getting The Skilled Legal Assistance Of A Hurricane Damage Attorney
Suffering hurricane damage can be overwhelming enough. You should not have to fight for the benefits you are entitled to under your insurance coverage on top of that. Let us help you get what you deserve.
At the Law Offices of Chip Forstall, our experienced hurricane damage attorneys diligently represent the legal rights of policyholders after a hurricane when their insurance company has acted in bad faith. If you are struggling with your insurance company after a hurricane insurance claim, call us at (504) 483-3400 or contact us through our online contact form for a free consultation.