On September 20, 2020, Hurricane Marked Mary's third anniversary of the destruction of the island of Puerto Rico. Since then, policyholders have overcome many obstacles, but many are still struggling with property damage that has not yet been addressed. Insurance companies still deny and underpay Hurricane Maria insurance claims, and yet we have to ask: What have we learned? First, a policyholder should fully understand the coverage and exemptions from his insurance. Secondly, a policyholder should have knowledge of the steps to be taken to make a correct claim, such as reporting claims to the insurer in time, taking pictures of all claims and trying to mitigate the claim. Policyholders should make their property available for inspection and provide receipts for any repairs. Finally, if the policyholder does not agree with the policyholder's estimate of the damages and / or payment, the policyholder should not accept a check as a final payment and request that the policyholder reconsider his decision on the claim.
Before Hurricane Maria, no major disaster had occurred in Puerto Rico for about 20 years and most policyholders had never filed a claim. Insurance companies in Puerto Rico had never handled so many damages at once either. However, it has been a learning process for both sides of the claims. Most importantly, thanks to many of the lessons learned, new laws and changes to the Puerto Rico Insurance Code have been made, as discussed in a previous blog post.1
1 Julitza Perez. How to file a complaint with the Puerto Rico Insurance Ombudsman Office about your delays, denials and maladministration by insurance companies. Legal insurance blog for property insurance, June 18, 2019. Available at: https://www.propertyinsurancecoveragelaw.com/2019/06/articles/insurance/how-to-file-a-complaint-with-the-puerto-rico-försäkringskommissionär-Office -on-your-delay-denial-and-bad-treatment-insurance-companies /
2 Francisco Garcia & Julitza Perez. Puerto Rico: Guide to Unfair Insurer Settlement Measures Under Adjustment of Claims . Law blog for property insurance, June 17, 2019. Available at: https://www.propertyinsurancecoveragelaw.com/2019/06/articles/insurance/puerto-rico-guide-to-unfair-settlement-acts-by-insurances- under-adjustment -of-receivables /