"MAPFRE does not pay property insurance claims and threatens the security of Puerto Ricans," was the announcement by public adjuster Jack Hanks in a CBS news report. Jack Hanks and David Skipton held a seminar in Tampa earlier this spring for public adjusters that were just beginning in the public adaptation industry. Hanks is an excellent speaker and educator who can be told from the news story.
MAPFRE has been at the forefront of denying claims in Puerto Rico. Their claims leader even tried the old trick of including alleged release language on the back of controls to create a deal and satisfaction defense. The Supreme Court of Puerto Rico stopped this erroneous allegation practice, which we noted in, The Supreme Court of Puerto Rico continues to review compliance and satisfaction Hurricane Maria claims and Accord and Satisfaction: Supreme Court Rules for Hurricane Policyholders Maria Claim .
CBS News is not the only media outlet reporting on the slow compensation payments in Puerto Rico. New York Times ran a story about this, as mentioned in, Puerto Rico Hurricane Maria still claims unpaid ̵
Nowhere have I seen delays and underpayments worse than in Puerto Rico. The reasons are many. To be fair, not all causes are caused by insurance companies either. But how beautiful the island and its people are, the claim from Puerto Rico insurers who follow Maria is just uglier than what I've seen anywhere. defense in the case of first parties. First-party real estate insurance companies would be heavily fined, subject to improper litigation and likely "blacked out" by the insurance authorities for practice. But in Puerto Rico, the fine art of getting homes and some commercial policyholders to sign emissions or checks that give rise to these defenses is an art form of the Puerto Rico insurance company's requirements adjuster. Over 25% of our home policyholders who complain about late and underpaid claims are fighting against this defense – usually as a result of signing the insurance company's first check. This simply does not happen in the US continental insurance claims environment.
Literally, a quarter of homeowners policyholders may have been deceived into receiving additional amounts than the first check payment as a result of these methods depending on how the Puerto Rico Supreme Court decides the matter. I'm really afraid that some rogue head of claims reading this will be trying to copy practice.
To be fair, there were simply not enough adjustments to property insurance to handle the extraordinary amount of work. Most mainlanders who came to the island did not speak Spanish. Insurers often used unqualified and unlicensed individuals just to get some kind of response. The training of ethical statements for these individuals was non-existent.
In the wake of this, the Puerto Rican legislature passed laws requiring insurance companies and good faith remedies if insurers do not act in good faith. Hopefully, legislation, litigation and news pressure will finally force Puerto Rico insurance companies to act in good faith. But I do not hold my breath.
Thoughts on the day
As an anchor for the CBS Evening News, I signed my nightly broadcasts for almost two decades with a simple statement: "And so it is." For me, it sums up the newsman's highest ideal: to report facts as he sees them, without regard to the consequences or controversies that may arise.
—Walter Cronkite