Articles Posted in Hurricane Insurance

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If a tree falls on your house or building because of Tropical Storm Lee, you should make a claim with your own insurance regardless of whether the tree was growing on your property or another person’s property before the storm.

Fortunately, you should not have to pay a hurricane deductible since Tropical Storm Lee is not a hurricane. Make sure to take photographs of the tree before removing it from the home.

Furthermore, you should check for structural damage to your home as well as for any damage to your slab. Often times, a slab home will suffer cracks to the slab even to the opposite corner of the home.

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Tropical Storm Lee is expected to produce extensive rainfall. The National Weather Service National Hurricane Center advised at 1 p.m. today that

TROPICAL STORM LEE IS EXPECTED TO PRODUCE TOTAL RAIN
ACCUMULATIONS OF 10 TO 15 INCHES OVER SOUTHERN LOUISIANA…SOUTHERN
MISSISSIPPI…AND SOUTHERN ALABAMA THROUGH SUNDAY…WITH POSSIBLE
ISOLATED MAXIMUM AMOUNTS OF 20 INCHES. THESE RAINS ARE EXPECTED TO
CAUSE EXTENSIVE FLOODING…ESPECIALLY IN URBAN AREAS.

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Louisiana Insurance Laws are found primarily in Louisiana Revised Statutes Title 22. The laws are set forth as follows:

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Colorado State University hurricane research team predicts a 72 percent chance that at least one major hurricane will make landfall on the U.S. coastline in 2011 (the long-term average probability is 52 percent).

There is a 50 percent probability of a hurricane coming ashore in the Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama Gulf coast and Florida panhandle region.

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Recently, I’ve had several Louisiana Homeowners Insurance Claimants contact my office about their mortgage company holding onto their insurance money. Often times the person has a hurricane insurance claim, fire insurance claim or other homeowners claim and has completed repairs or has nearly completed repairs. For whatever reason the mortgage company is giving the homeowner the runaround on disbursing the money.

Although the mortgage company, as additional insured on the policy, has a right to make sure the repairs are made. Sometimes the mortgage company exceeds its authority. You can try to resolve this problem on your own by completing a complaint form with State of Louisiana Office of Financial Institutions. You can also call a Louisiana insurance dispute lawyer for assistance with this matter.

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The second anniversary of Hurricane Gustav is quickly approaching. Many have still not recieved their supplemental insurance proceeds. Some have been denied. It may not be too late to file your Hurricane Gustav Insurance Lawsuit. If you still do not have enough money to fix your home or business property damage, or have not yet been fully compensated for your business losses or contents claims, or have not been able to afford replace your damaged asbestos slate or terracotta roof, Louisiana Revised Statute 22:868 provides for a period of “twenty-four months next after the inception of the loss” to file a lawsuit for certain types of claims.

Of course, if you wish to pursue a Hurricane Gustav insurance lawsuit, gather your insurance company’s estimate and your policy together and hire an attorney immediately to protect your interests as you may be facing very important legal deadlines.

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Now that Hurricane season is here, there are several helpful publications prepared by The Louisiana Department Of Insurance that you may wish to review for informaiton about homeowners, flood and business interruption insurance as well as how to prepare for both before and after the storm. These publications include:

Hurricane Tracking Map and Preparedness Guide.pdf

After the Hurricane Hits.pdf

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hurricane_ike_300.jpgThe National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration is predicting an “active to extremely active” 2010 hurricane season for the Atlantic with 14 to 23 named storms this season, of which 8 to 14 will turn into hurricanes and 3 to 7 of those will grow into major hurricanes with sustained winds of at least 111 miles per hour.

Colorado State University forecasters have issued similar predictions: 15 named storms, 8 hurricanes and 4 major hurricanes.

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If you are a homeowner in Louisiana, the possibility that your property may be affected by a flood is an unfortunate reality. There are physical measures a homeowner can take to protect his property against the threat of a flood, but the prospect that structural mitigation may not be enough should compel a homeowner to seek flood insurance. In this situation, National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) policies most often come into play.

According to the NFIP, a flood exists “where two or more acres of normally dry land or two or more properties are inundated by water or mudflow.” GOHSEP (Governor’s Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Preparedness) expands upon this definition to describe how a flood is typically an external event. If the dam or levee behind your property breaks and your home is inundated with water, it is considered a flood. On the other hand, if your pipes burst and your home sustains water damage, it is not a technical flood. Insurance policies for property owners reflect this distinction. When a home is damaged by a legitimate flood, it is a matter for the NFIP to handle. If a home is affected by water, mud or other runoff material not resulting from an actual flood, then it would relate to homeowner’s insurance, not the NFIP.

When a homeowner in a “moderate-to-low risk area” applies for flood insurance with the NFIP, he has more than one coverage option. Building and contents can be offered in one premium package, and the NFIP offers additional choices to alleviate the financial burden that flood insurance places on a homeowner. Many Louisiana homeowners do not fit this “moderate-to-low risk” standard. The Preliminary Digital Flood Insurance Rate Maps (DFIRMs) currently used by FEMA and the NFIP illustrate that much of the state is categorized as “high risk.” Louisiana homeowners might balk at the price tag for flood insurance, but they may have no power to reject it. The NFIP stipulates that if you are in a high risk area, and your mortgage was acquired through a “federally regulated or insured lender,” you must insure your property.

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In Dixey, II v. Allstate Insurance Company, –F.Supp.2nd, 2010 WL 126628 (E.D.La.), plaintiff filed his Hurricane Katrina insurance lawsuit after the second anniversary of Hurricane Katrina and attempted to use the Louisiana class action statutes to demonstrate that his claim had not prescribed. The Court determined the claim had prescribed finding the “liberative prescription” set forth in LA-CCP art 596 is not applicable to the “contractual prescription” set forth in the policy. Allstate maintained that contractual limitation period set forth in its policy cannot be interrupted or suspended.

This decision is wrong. The Court failed to recognize that the twelve month provision in the contract is also a liberative prescriptive period. It is not in the language of the insurance company; rather, it is the language of the Legislature and expressed in words which the fire statute (LA-RS 22:691(F)) requires be inserted in the policy, word for word, line for line, number for number. See, Gremillion v. Travelers Indemnity Co., 240 So.2d 727, 256 La. 974 (1970). Further, the court must strictly construe the statute against prescription and in favor of the claim that is said to be extinguished and CC 3457 provides there is no prescription other than that established by legislation.

Additionally, in 2006 oral argument before the Louisiana Supreme Court, Allstate, State Farm and USAA, the three remaining defendants in a Hurricane Katrina lawsuit, even acknowledged the applicable limitation period is a liberative prescriptive period and capable of being suspended under the doctrine of contra non valentem. See, FN13 State v. All Property And Casualty Insurance Carriers Authorized And Licensed To Do Business In the State, 937 So.2d 313, 2006-2030 (La. 8/25/06) at 327. In footnote 13, that Court stated,