On August 21, 2023, Southern California was hit by its first tropical storm since 1997.  The remnants of Hurricane Hilary brought record-breaking rainfall and knocked out power for thousands of Californians. This storm follows devastating wildfires in Maui, which killed over 110 people, and hot tub temperatures off the coast of Florida: the ocean reached 101 degrees (it should be just 74-88 degrees). The ocean’s record temperatures may strengthen the severity and prolong the season of this year’s hurricanes, which already plague Florida. According to an Accuweather meteorologist, the warm weathers are “just inviting a big system to hit the state again this year.” His prediction may prove true: Tropical Storm Idalia, expected to strengthen into a major hurricane, is scheduled to hit Tampa on Wednesday.Continue Reading Record-Breaking Temperatures, Record-Breaking Claims: The Importance of Risk Mitigation to Reduce Severe Weather Costs

This insurance coverage story begins like any other: an insurance company (Ironshore Specialty) issued a business insurance policy to a North Carolina hotel (RPG Hospitality). The policy provided coverage for wind-driven rain, but the most Ironshore would pay for such a claim was “the Wind Driven Rain Sub-Limit of Liability shown in the Sub-Limit Provision Endorsement.” However, the Ironshore policy contained no Sub-Limit Provision Endorsement. Ironshore testified that it left the endorsement out of the policy by mistake; RPG contended that it was intentionally omitted. After Hurricane Florence struck the insured hotel, causing severe damage, RPG tendered a claim and enlisted the assistance of an Ironshore adjuster in coordinating the demolition and repair work. The Ironshore adjuster, aware that the policy did not contain the relevant sub-limit endorsement, approved the work, which exceeded the purported sub-limit by millions of dollars. When Ironshore refused to pay, a lawsuit followed.Continue Reading Lost in the Wind: Missing Endorsement Yields Policy Ambiguity

The hurdles policyholders have faced with the appraisal process in Florida are far from over. In the past, many Florida courts have limited the scope for appraisal, strictly construing the policy provision against the policyholder. Yet, recently, in Positano Place at Naples I Condominium Association, Inc., et al. v. Empire Indemnity Insurance Company, the Eleventh Circuit dismissed an insurer’s appeal of the district court’s ruling compelling appraisal and a stay of a pending litigation.  
Continue Reading Not Our Territory: 11th Circuit Dismisses Hurricane Damage Appraisal Order for Lack of Jurisdiction

Despite the seemingly calm tropics, hurricane season is still going strong and will be for another two months. Is your business prepared in the event a hurricane hits? Andrea DeField and Alice Weeks recently published an article in Risk Management Magazine which is full of tips to minimize losses and maximize recovery in the event

New Jersey’s highest court heard arguments Monday in the appeal of a ruling that the New Jersey Transit Corp.’s (“NJ Transit”) insurers are required to insure $400 million of water damage loss caused by Hurricane Sandy.

The matter stems from an insurance claim NJ Transit made after the super storm rocked the East Coast in 2012. NJ Transit claimed over $400 million in losses as a result of damage to its tracks, bridges, tunnels and power stations. In response, its tower of property insurers took the position that a $100 million flood sublimit applied to limit NJ Transit’s recovery under its insurance tower, not the policy’s $400 million overall limits.
Continue Reading New Jersey Supreme Court Hears Insurers’ Bid to Overturn a $400M Decision

In the first part of a 3-part series, the Hunton insurance team discusses how policyholders can plan for this year’s hurricane season. Part 2 will address how to prepare a claim after a loss in order to maximize the potential recovery, including by taking photographs of any damage and tracking curfews that affect your operations.  Part 3 will discuss how to prevent denials of pending claims based on suit limitations periods.  The team’s goal is to provide a comprehensive outline that will guide policyholders before and after a loss.
Continue Reading Hunton Insurance Team Helps Policyholders Prepare for the 2019 Hurricane Season, Part 1 of 3

Insurance companies can become insolvent. This is an ongoing issue in Puerto Rico following hurricanes Irma and Maria. In addition to Real Legacy Assurance Company’s insolvency, Puerto Rico’s Insurance Commissioner reportedly fined various insurers for delays in handling claims. Even if your insurance company is insolvent, it may have purchased reinsurance. While the general rule

Following the devastation of Hurricane Irma, the Florida Office of Insurance Regulation has entered an emergency order regarding insurance procedures for residential property policies to assist policyholders and streamline the claims process. The insurance commissioner’s order provides standardized requirements for claims reporting, grace periods for payment of premiums and performance of other duties by policyholders, and temporary postponement of cancellations and non-renewals. These include:
Continue Reading Florida Office Of Insurance Regulation Enters Emergency Order Regarding Hurricane Irma Claims

Hunton & Williams’ Insurance Recovery Team Head, Walter Andrews, was spotlighted in an article published in the Houston Chronicle last week regarding insurance for losses from Hurricanes Harvey and Irma. While the storms were devastating in their own unique ways – Harvey with extensive flooding; Irma with extreme wind and storm surge – both

Hunton insurance lawyers Michael Levine, Syed Ahmad and Katherine Miller discuss how Hurricanes Harvey and Irma highlight the need for contingent business interruption insurance and why companies with this coverage should be considering how to obtain its benefit for income losses resulting from the recent storms. The article was published this morning in Risk Management.