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:
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 have substantially impacted local and national businesses. As Andrews explains, “if you don’t have any customers, or if they can’t access your facilities, you don’t have business. Many businesses are facing vast amounts of lost earnings during the time it takes to repair hurricane-related damage.” Local business owners facing huge losses have a financial lifeline in the form of business-interruption coverage in their property policies. Likewise, distant businesses impacted by the storms likely have contingent business interruption coverage that will apply if a business or customer they depend on suffered damage from one of the storms – even if that damage occurred hundreds of miles away from the insured business.
For more information, please visit our Hurricane Insurance Recovery and Advisory center.
The National Hurricane Center calls Hurricane Irma a “potentially catastrophic Category 5 Hurricane.” As the state of Florida begins evacuation procedures, Miami-based Hunton Insurance lawyers Walter Andrews and Andrea DeField provide commentary and analysis to the Daily Business Review on steps that South Florida insureds should take now in preparation for the impending storm. These include ensuring coverage for both windstorm and flood damage, as well as considering these often standard coverages in light of anticipated claims post-storm:
It has been almost a week since Hurricane Harvey came barreling down the Texas coastline as a Category-4 storm. Since that time, parts of Texas and Louisiana have been inundated with flood waters as Harvey continues to wreak havoc. Despite the fact that many of those affected have been unable to reach their homes or business to fully assess the damage because of road closures and flood waters, insureds whose businesses or homes were in the storm’s path should notify their insurers in writing now. The initial written notice should include the following information:
- Name and contact information for the insured;
- The location of the loss;
- The date and time of the loss (to the extent known); and
- A brief description of the loss.
Last week, nearly 200,000 people were evacuated from areas downstream of the Oroville Dam in Northern California. Today, separate recommended and mandatory evacuation orders continue for roughly 50,000 San Jose residents due to rising flood waters along Coyote Creek. Between the Oroville Dam crisis and the torrential storms battering Northern California, California businesses face significant loss arising from the flooding, the threat of flooding, landslides and the like. Fortunately, some of the damage to property and businesses can be mitigated by insurance.
On October 7, 2016, an article by Hunton & Williams’ insurance lawyers Walter J. Andrews, Michael S. Levine and Andrea DeField, discussing insurance recovery options for those affected by Hurricane Matthew, was published in the Daily Business Review. The full article is available here. In the article, the authors discuss the types of coverage that may be available to affected policyholders and some of the pitfalls they should look out for as they mitigate their losses and navigate the claim process. The authors can be contacted directly for follow up at email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org and email@example.com.
The Supreme Court of Wisconsin ruled yesterday that a construction company’s builder’s risk policy issued by Assurance Company of America (“Assurance”) applied to cover a fire loss at a home under construction, even though the prospective purchasers of the home were residing in the home at the time of the fire and had already recovered from their homeowner’s policy.
Last week’s torrential rains have caused widespread flooding in West Virginia and surrounding areas. It is important that policyholders in these and other areas remain mindful of the substantial benefits that may be available to them for resulting economic and physical losses under ordinary business insurance policies. Policyholders also should be mindful of the interplay between coverage for flood under business insurance policies and assistance that may be available from state and federal agencies (e.g., FEMA). Finally, policyholders should stand ready to enforce their rights when insurers attempt to limit coverage for flood, since insurer tactics sometimes do not hold water.
For a summary of coverages that may be available to victims of flooding (directly and indirectly), see our recent flood-damage Insurance Alert.