It’s been over a year since Hurricane Maria ravaged Puerto Rico, but the island is still far from a full recovery, due in large part to the continued non-cooperation of the insurance industry. Puerto Ricans have been forced to close down their businesses, drain their savings, and/or resign to living and working in buildings with structural damage because they have not received the insurance payments necessary to make repairs.
Despite plenty of time to handle claims, insurance companies in Puerto Rico have been slow to act, leaving at least 13,600 insurance claims still open.
Insurance Companies are Disregarding the Law
Under Puerto Rico law, insurance claims must be completed and processed within 90 days unless there are extenuating circumstances. While companies did receive a large number of claims in the aftermath of Hurricane Maria, they made insufficient effort to promptly handle them. Puerto Rico’s Commissioner of Insurance levied fines against numerous insurance companies in March of this year for failing to resolve claims in a timely manner. Despite over $2 million in fines, insurance companies still aren’t picking up the pace when processing claims.
Reinsurance in Puerto Rico Lengthens the Claim Process
Much of the insurance market in Puerto Rico is ceded to foreign reinsurers. While this helps prevent insolvency by spreading out the risk, it also adds an extra step into the already lengthy and complicated insurance claims process. Reinsurers often have to approve payments on claims, but most of them are in no hurry to pay out. When natural disasters strike, insurance companies stand to pay billions of dollars on claim payouts under their insurance contracts
What Can Policyholders Do?
Policyholders who regularly pay their premiums deserve full protection under their policies. Insurance companies have no right to unreasonably delay or withhold payments. Policyholders struggling with their insurance companies can file a lawsuit with the help of an experienced insurance lawyer.
Raizner Law Can Help
Puerto Rico must not be forgotten. The insurance lawyers at Raizner Law are proud to help Puerto Rican business owners with their Hurricane Maria insurance claims. We understand the island is facing desperate times and are working tirelessly to help policyholders get what they rightfully deserve under their policies. Call us today to schedule a free consultation to discuss your case.