May 24, 2022

Volume XII, Number 144

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As Laura Wreaks Havoc Along The Gulf, Is Your Insurance Ready to Respond?

As Texas and Louisiana brace for Hurricane Laura to make landfall, policyholders in the affected regions should be making last minute preparations to ensure their properties are covered in the storm’s wake.

Hurricane Laura is expected to make landfall as a Category 4 storm tonight, or early Thursday morning between Houston, Texas and Lake Charles, Louisiana. With wind speeds reaching over 120 mph, Laura has the potential for catastrophic damage to life and property and long-term disruption of normal business operations. The following three steps are crucial to ensuring that you protect your property and business and maximize insurance proceeds should your property fall in the path of this storm:

  1.   Locate a copy of your policy.

Having your policy on hand prior to a loss will aid in starting your claim as soon as possible, as it may be more difficult to get in touch with your broker following a storm where thousands of claims are taking place simultaneously.

Your policy will also provide you with important information regarding how to get in touch with your insurer following a loss.

While it is too late to alter your coverages at this point, knowing your rights and duties for the period immediately following the storm will aid in the claim process.

  1.   Have an insurance response team prior to the storm.

Commercial policyholders should know now who they are going to contact for emergency repairs and services.  Having an emergency action plan in place will minimize downtime and maximize recovery efforts after the storm.

Document or photograph your pre-loss inventory and other insured assets to provide to your insurer when adjusting your claim. They may not be able to reach your property immediately following the storm.

Following the storm, your team should set up a general ledger to capture all storm-related costs, expenses, and time, including costs incurred to mitigate storm losses.

Designate a point person to liaise with the insurer’s adjuster and to submit storm-related invoices, quotes and contracts.

Document everything, including physical damage, evacuation orders, curfews, power outages, supply chain disruptions, and extra costs.

  1.   Present your claim as soon as practicable.

Insurance companies require prompt notice of a loss. Once the claim is submitted, check your policy regarding the submission of a proof of loss, as is often required. These documents have deadlines, some of which are triggered without any request from the insurer. Request an extension if you need one to ensure timely submission. Use photographs, videos, or other documentation to substantiate your claim.

Keep a log of all communications with your insurer and adjuster, including phone calls. An accurate timeline of communications will assist in any potential litigation regarding your claim.

In the event of a denial, delay, or recovery smaller than required to repair your business, retaining experienced coverage counsel can help you in analyzing your policies, and understanding your rights and the obligations of your insurer.

For more information regarding insurance recovery for hurricane losses, see our July 2020 client alert.

Meagan R. Cyrus contributed to this article.

Copyright © 2022, Hunton Andrews Kurth LLP. All Rights Reserved.National Law Review, Volume X, Number 239
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About this Author

Walter J. Andrews Insurance Attorney Hunton AK
Partner

Walter’s practice focuses on complex insurance litigation, counseling and reinsurance arbitrations and expert witness testimony.

As the head of the firm’s insurance coverage practice, Walter offers clients more than 30 years of experience managing insurance-related issues, including program audits, policy manuscripting, counseling, litigation and arbitration. He works with companies in a diverse range of industries, including financial services, consumer products, food and beverages, chemicals, real estate and municipalities. 

...
305 810 6407
Michael S. Levine Insurance Lawyer Hunton Andrews Kurth
Partner

Mike has more than 20 years of experience litigating insurance disputes and advising clients on insurance coverage matters.

Mike Levine is a partner in the firm’s Washington, DC office and a member of the firm’s Insurance Recovery team. Mike’s policyholder representation focuses on:

  • Property damage and business interruption claims, including COVID-19 losses
  • Event cancellation insurance counseling
  • Representations and warranties coverage
  • ...
202 955 1857
Andrea DeField Associate Miami Insurance
Associate

Andrea finds risk management, risk transfer, and insurance recovery solutions for public and private companies.

Andrea has dedicated her career to helping clients manage risk and maximize insurance recovery. As part of her counseling practice, Andrea adds value to business deals by advising clients on contractual risk transfer through indemnity, additional insured, and required insurance provisions in contracts. She also helps clients identify and mitigate risk before a loss occurs by conducting insurance due diligence for mergers and acquisitions and by conducting audits of clients...

305-810-2465
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