Homeowners and business owners in Louisiana have suffered in Hurricane Ida alone over $95 billions of dollars in recent hurricane property damage which may be covered by their homeowners’ and business insurance benefits. The fact that these policies cover these claims does not mean that your insurer will be there to protect you after the storm to provide you with the coverage that was promised.
Unfortunately, following these types of events, many insurers look to cut their covered losses at the expense of their insureds by delaying payment and denying or undervaluing valid claims. Eligible property owners get the run-around from their insurers, who hope that their insureds do not consult a lawyer and either take less than they would be entitled to for the damages they suffered, or just give up entirely. At Simien & Simien, LLC, we do not give up when an insurer denies or undervalues a client’s valid claims for hurricane or storm damages.
You may have a claim if you meet the following criteria:
- You had a business or homeowner’s property damage policy covering your building or dwelling from these types of losses.
- The covered property was damaged by a hurricane, tropical storm or other weather event.
- You have taken reasonable steps to temporarily repair or address your property damage to prevent further damage.
- You have coverage for the loss (such as a homeowner’s or business policy covering wind and storm damage, and a flood coverage policy for rising water damage); and
- You have timely notified your insurer of a claim under the policy.
For a personalized discussion of your covered claim under your Louisiana property or flood policy for damage resulting from a recent tropical storm or hurricane, contact Simien & Simien. We can assist with these claims anywhere in the state of Louisiana. You will receive a personal consultation via telephone, zoom, or in person at one of our offices.
It doesn’t matter whether the storm occurred today or last year. We have helped people at all stages of the claims process get the benefits they deserve and are entitled to under their insurance policies. Nothing is more gratifying in our practice than to see someone suffering major storm losses find hope to replace the frustration and dead ends caused by an unscrupulous insurer that denies legitimate storm-related property claims solely to maximize its profits.
Rest assured that our goal in hurricane claim cases is always to enable beleaguered property owners to find help, hope, and funding of their claims so that they can get back on their feet and make necessary repairs, seek alternative living conditions, and rebuild their homes – and began the process of moving forward beyond the devastation of loss caused by high winds, tornados, tropical storms, and hurricanes.
What Property Owners Should Do After A Storm
To prevent a sense of hopelessness and maximize the recovery of insurance benefits after a loss, a property owner should do the following:
- Contact your insurer immediately to make a claim and obtain a claim number
- Take pictures, gather eyewitness testimony, save news articles, and collect any other evidence you have of the storm and the resulting damage to your property
- Make temporary repairs to the extent possible, such as by boarding windows and covering torn areas of roofs with plastic tarps to prevent additional damage
- Keep receipts and create a log listing repairs and their costs
- Don’t discard damaged or destroyed items until an insurance claims adjuster has seen them
- Keep a list of all damaged furniture, electronics, and other contents that cannot be repaired, along with dates of purchase, how much you paid for them, serial numbers, and any other identifying information, and take pictures of each item before it is thrown away
- Don’t start making permanent repairs until an insurer has given authorization to do so
- Keep track of additional living expenses (such as hotel bills, additional food costs, and gas receipts), which an insurer may later compare with normal expenses when calculating benefits
- Contact us if you feel your insurer is not providing you the service or coverage you deserve under your policy
For more personalized direction, consult with an attorney who can advise you according to your circumstances. At that time, you can also discuss what to do if you have missed one of these steps.
How To File Claims For Insurance Benefits
In all cases, notify your insurance company promptly that a loss event has occurred.
- Review your policy for coverage specifics, including deductibles and time limits for filing a claim.
- Distinguish the types of damage according to causes: wind damage for your general homeowner’s insurance and damage from rising water for your national or private flood insurance.
- Insist that an insurance claims adjuster review the damage within 30 days.
- Get legal help if this time limit is approaching and you have not been able to get a satisfactory response from your insurer.
Interacting With Insurance Companies During Recovery Time After A Storm
Because so much is at stake, many property owners realize the importance of working with a hurricane claims attorney to prevent misunderstandings and irreversible mistakes. As you and/or your lawyer interact with one or more insurers during the claims process, you will want to pay close attention to issues such as these:
- Your deductible and how it is calculated
- An initial claim check that the insurer may provide, including whether it is supposedly final or not
- The process for filing supplemental claims as the need for them arises during repairs or rebuilding
- The actual cash value versus the replacement value of your structures
For best results, work closely with an attorney who is experienced and who will fight to protect your rights and interests.
Louisiana Insurance Bad Faith Laws, Covering Storm, Hurricane & Other Property Damage Claims
Depending on how your case progresses, you may encounter roadblocks such as an insurance company’s unreasonable delays, improper denials of claims, disagreements between you and your insurer as to the value of losses, and what can be repaired or what requires replacement or rebuilding. With Simien & Simien, LLC on your side, we will know how to best rely on one or more of these laws in a lawsuit against your insurer:
- La. R.S. 22:1892, which governs an insurance company’s legal obligation to timely adjust claims and pay undisputed amounts owed to an insured for their damages
- La. R.S. 22:1973, which spells out an insurer’s duty of good faith and fair dealing, including a prohibition against misrepresenting pertinent facts or insurance policy provisions relating to coverages at issue
Simien & Simien has experienced attorneys who have successfully litigated insurance bad faith claims, recovering payouts not only for the amounts necessary to compensate their clients for lost and damaged property, but also for penalties and attorney fees owed by an insurance company when it acts in bad faith in delaying payment, denying coverage, or undervaluing claims.
Call 866-208-9311 or send an email inquiry for a prompt response.
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