Hurricane Ian’s torrential rains and devastating storm surges (not to mention Category 4 winds) caused catastrophic damage, power and/or water outages, collapsed roofs and business closures . Despite preparations to limit damage, once immediate health and safety has been assured, individuals and businesses will need to focus on mitigating losses and repairing property damage.
Based on past hurricanes of this magnitude, anticipated claims ranging from individual auto and home insurance claims to business interruption and other property damage claims are likely to be measured. in billions of dollars, in total. While individuals and businesses will be dealing with insurance claims long after the water has receded and the winds have died down, actions taken now can have a significant impact on potential insurance recovery later.
Policyholders should collect and review all potentially reactive policies to determine both their rights and their obligations. Although the specific terms often vary by policy, policyholders should first and foremost ensure that they comply with all notice requirements. Property policies generally provide short time limits for providing notice and proof of loss forms, including supporting documentation. While insurers often agree to extend proof of loss deadlines, policyholders must ensure that they meet their obligations and obtain extensions, if necessary.
Policyholders should also document and track their storm-related damages and losses, including additional expenses incurred to mitigate losses. Keeping clear, real-time records helps move insurance claims forward faster, reduces the time it takes to compile claims backup data months after those costs or losses are incurred, and reduces the possibility of not inadvertently capture all additional expenses and losses. Policyholders must also determine if a deductible applies to a potential claim and, if so, the amount of the deductible to determine if a claim is worth pursuing.
For business policyholders, in addition to focusing on property damage coverage such as collapsed roofs or water damage, additional key coverage grants likely include business interruption coverage. , contingent/dependent business interruption coverage and utility interruption coverage, among others.
Many business policyholders are becoming more familiar with business interruption and contingent/dependent business interruption coverage, as these coverage subsidies have also been the subject of related insurance claims. to COVID-19. In general, business interruption coverage insures loss of revenue or profits due to suspended operations as a result of direct physical damage to covered property. Similarly, contingent/dependent business interruption coverage is intended to cover loss of income and reimburse additional expenses associated with an interruption in an insured’s supply chain or an interruption related to an event outside the premises of the insured which prevents the operations of the insured.
Insurers have asserted no direct physical damage to property in a bid to deny COVID-19 claims (claims that are the subject of extensive insurance coverage litigation), but given the nature of Ian’s damage, this potential impediment to coverage should not apply. most of the business interruption claims associated with this storm. However, other policy provisions, such as potential limitations related to named storms, will likely require detailed analysis.
Finally, in general, utility interruption coverage provides coverage for losses associated with a lack of incoming utility services caused by a covered cause of loss of property away from the insured’s premises, for example, the power plant of a public service. Given the many power outages, this coverage subsidy can be of considerable importance to policyholders. While this is not an exhaustive list of coverage that may apply to this catastrophic storm or immediate action to take, and the extent of potential coverage will be determined by specific policy wording, it It is clear that policyholders have substantial insurance assets that can respond to these claims and help mitigate losses.