The Gulf Coast has seen its fair share of hurricane activity and damage throughout 2020. While some of those affected have been able to begin the restoration process, others have unfortunately not been as lucky. In fact, many property owners have found their insurers and claims adjusters have been slow to respond to Hurricane Laura claims entirely. Having an understanding of why claims have stalled and what property owners can do when insurers wrongfully delay a prompt response can help protect them and their assets.
Homeowners Wait on Insurers’ Response to Hurricane Laura Claims
Hurricane Laura hit the Lake Charles, Louisiana area in late August of this year. The Category 4 storm made landfall as one of the most powerful storms in U.S. history, leaving widespread destruction throughout the state and causing massive power outages in Louisiana and parts of Texas along the border. While Hurricane Laura was quickly downgraded to a tropical storm after heading inland, it left behind catastrophic destruction to homes and businesses in southern Louisiana, leaving many looking to insurers for assistance. While the rebuilding process following a hurricane can take time, many property owners in the Lake Charles area have found themselves unsure of what to do as they continue to wait for assistance from insurers, now months after the storm.
When Insurers Delay Prompt Claims Response
Unfortunately, instances of claims delay are all too common when filing an insurance claim after a powerful storm causes widespread damage. As insurers delay responding to damage claims, families and businesses suffer greatly with no means to rebuild. Because of this, it’s important to know what policyholders can do when an insurer fails to conduct a proper investigation and wrongfully delays a prompt claims response.
Understand Bad Faith Tactics and Improper Investigations
Despite it being an unfortunate reality, insurance companies are not actually in the business of paying out claims – their main goal is to make money. Ultimately this means that the more claims they delay or deny, the more money they keep. When an insured files an insurance claim after its property has been damaged by a powerful storm like Hurricane Laura, the insurance company has a duty to perform a complete and proper investigation in order to determine what is and isn’t covered.
However, a faulty or even nonexistent investigation by an insurer is all too common. By failing to investigate property damage claims in a timely fashion, unnecessary delays can leave property owners with nowhere to turn to begin the rebuilding process. Additionally, carriers may send out unlicensed third-party adjusters who work for a variety of companies to investigate property damage claims, many of whom will not fully investigate all the relevant facts.
Know When a Claim Had Been Delayed
In most instances, once an insurance claim has been filed, the insurer has up to 30 days to investigate it. In the event there is reasonable cause for the insurance company not to complete the investigation within those 30 days, it must be able to provide the insured with a reasonable written explanation of the delay. If the delay continues, it must continue to provide the insured with further reasoning for the delay every 45 days.
Keep Documentation of all Damages
Having a well-documented inventory of the items within a property and those that have been damaged following a hurricane or other natural disaster is incredibly important when filing an insurance claim. This documentation can help policyholders back up their claims should legal action be required.
Hurricane Laura Insurance Claim Attorneys
Following Hurricane Laura’s impact on the Lake Charles, Louisiana area, many home and business owners found themselves between a rock and a hard place with their insurance companies. Despite sustaining widespread damage and filing prompt claims, insurers have managed to wrongfully delay, grossly underpay, and/or outright deny these claims entirely when the community needs the funds the most. When this happens, the assistance of an experienced hurricane damage claims attorney is necessary.
At Raizner Law, we’ve assisted countless home and business owners with claims that have been wrongfully disputed by some of the largest insurance carriers in the nation and around the world. If you or someone you know is struggling with an insurer over Hurricane Laura claims that have been wrongfully delayed, underpaid, or denied, contact our office today to see how we can help you get back on your feet.