The 2022 hurricane season begins in a couple of weeks, but countless Louisiana residents are still waiting for insurance companies to reimburse them for their losses from previous years. A new LSU survey found that nearly half of Louisianians who have filed a homeowners’, flood, or rental insurance claim in the last two years are dissatisfied with how insurers handled their claims. Storm victims who are upset with their insurance companies should consult a Louisiana property damage lawyer to learn more about their options.
Louisiana has historically been a hurricane hotspot, but things have worsened recently. In 2020, Louisiana was hit hard during a record-breaking storm season. Hurricane Laura, Hurricane Delta, and Hurricane Zeta caused tens of billions of dollars in property damage. Last year, Hurricane Ida became the most damaging hurricane to hit the state since Katrina in 2005. These storms destroyed homes and businesses, leaving them uninhabitable. Ahead of these natural disasters, residents evacuated to safety to avoid danger. Louisianans lost considerable sums between evacuation costs and property damage because of this storm. Insurance companies must promptly reimburse policyholders after receiving a property claim, but not every insurer complies. Storm victims who are unhappy with their insurance companies have options for recourse.
Louisiana Insurance Fast Facts
Insurers operating in Louisiana must abide by regulations set by the Louisiana Department of Insurance and pay claims within 30 days once they receive satisfactory proof of loss. Unfortunately, not every insurance company does the right thing by providing prompt reimbursement. Insurers often delay payment or outright refuse to pay claims, leaving the storm victim in the lurch.
The LSU survey estimates that about 375,000 Louisianans aren’t happy with how insurers handled their hurricane-related claims. Other findings from the survey give more insight into the experiences that Louisianians have with their insurance companies.
- Forty percent of Louisianians have filed a property damage claim in the last two years.
- The majority of these renters and property owners say their rates have gone up over the last year.
- Nearly 50% of survey respondents said they were dissatisfied with how their insurer handled the claim.
What To Do When Unhappy With Insurance Response
Even if an insurance company doesn’t refuse a claim, it can be challenging to get your money. Sometimes, insurers will give a lowball settlement offer that won’t cover the extent of your damage. Other times, an insurance company might drag out the payment process. Policyholders who aren’t receiving satisfactory help from insurance companies can file complaints with the Louisiana Department of insurance (LDI). The LDI says that the most common reason for hurricane claim complaints is claim delay and inadequate or delayed payment.
During the complaint process, you’ll provide information about your insurance company and type of coverage, along with what you’ve done to solve the problem. The agency will also ask for copies of any correspondence you’ve had with your insurance company and anything else that could be relevant. The average complaint takes about 45 days for the agency to investigate.
The Department of Insurance can enforce insurance regulations, but examiners cannot offer legal advice or act as a lawyer. They cannot decide disputes based on negligence or who’s at fault. The state’s path for conflict resolution is worth exploring, but contacting a Louisiana hurricane and natural disaster attorney is still essential. Insurance companies might use tactics like telling you not to get a lawyer, saying that your storm claim isn’t eligible under your policy, or they may try to prevent you from filing additional claims as a condition of a settlement.
Herman Herman & Katz is a Louisiana property damage law firm that will fight an insurance company acting in bad faith on your behalf. We defend hurricane storm victims from insurers determined to underpay or deny legitimate claims. Call us at 844-943-7626 for a free case review, or contact us online for more information.