Residents of Lake Charles, Louisiana have suffered incredible losses following the impact of Hurricanes Laura, Delta, and Zeta, all seemingly occurring back-to-back. Hurricane Laura alone caused billions of dollars in property damage. Now, as many business owners struggle to rebuild and recover from these costly losses, Louisiana’s insurance commissioner has set a deadline for Hurricane Laura insurance claims to be filed.
Hurricane Laura Insurance Claims Deadline
Louisiana Insurance Commissioner Jim Donelon has set a filing deadline for insurance claims related to damage sustained as a result of Hurricanes Laura, Delta, and Zeta. This decision comes as many business owners have been struggling to get their claims processed and paid in a timely fashion. Donelon stated that Louisiana state law requires giving owners with property in a disaster declaration area at least 180 days following the disaster to submit proof of loss information to their insurer. The Louisiana Department of Insurance set February 23, 2021 as the deadline to file all Hurricane Laura claims, while claims pertaining to Hurricane Delta must be filed by April 7, and those resulting from Hurricane Zeta by April 26.
Over 13,000 of the Hurricane Laura insurance claims filed are related to businesses. While about 70% of all storm claims filed have been “closed,” only 50% included payments, amounting to 46,641 claims closed without any payment being made.
What Business Owners Can Do After Hurricane Laura
Despite the steps business owners take to mitigate property damage and losses before a hurricane, damage is often inevitable with a storm as powerful as Hurricane Laura. Therefore, business owners should take the following steps to begin the process of recovering and to ensure their insurance claims are properly filed:
In most instances, business owners should notify their insurers as soon as possible following property damage caused by a natural disaster, such as those following Hurricane Laura. It is important to file these claims quickly, which means thousands of claims are likely to be filed at roughly the same time. Once a business’s claim has been filed, it’s imperative to track its progress by checking in with the insurer to ensure it’s being processed.
Provide Proof of Loss
When filing an insurance claim following a hurricane, business owners must adequately take into account all the losses sustained by the storm. While this can entail making spreadsheets of any lost inventory, business owners should also take photos of damaged property. Filing sufficient evidence of proof of loss can include the submission of an initial damage claim, receipts for any needed temporary repairs, photos and videos of damage, and other such documentation.
Only Make Temporary Repairs
Making any unnecessary repairs prior to having the damage inspected by the insurance carrier can cause more harm than good. While small temporary repairs made to prevent further damage and injuries or to secure the property are fine, it’s best to avoid anything permanent. Making permanent changes before the insurer inspects the damage can hinder the claim and payment.
Contact an Attorney
Unfortunately, even following the impact of a storm like Hurricane Laura, insurers keep their own interests in mind. Unfair claim denials, delays, and underpayments can greatly affect business owners who may be unaware that they can fight back against insurance companies that act in bad faith. If for any reason a business owner’s insurer wrongfully refuses to compensate them for storm damage, it’s imperative they seek experienced legal counsel.
Hurricane Laura Lawyers
At Raizner Law, we understand just how difficult hurricane season has been for business owners in Lake Charles, Louisiana. Following the impact of several hurricanes, many have struggled to rebuild, reopen, and get back to business as usual. Unfortunately, once valid property damage claims have been filed, it’s common for insurers to do all they can to avoid paying them. Our attorneys have vast experience defeating insurers who use bad faith tactics to deny policyholders the funds they are rightfully owed. We have handled claims against some of the largest insurance companies in the world and we will fight to get your business the compensation it deserves. If you or someone you know is dealing with an insurer that has wrongfully delayed, denied, or grossly underpaid a commercial property damage claim, contact us today to see how we can help.