It has been nearly two months since Hurricane Ida swept through southeast Louisiana leaving homeowners and business owners devastated. By now, many individuals have filed a claim with their insurance company to begin to recover for any losses.
As previously mentioned, homeowners typically have 180 days to file an insurance claim after a hurricane, unless the deadline is extended. Once submitted, the insurance company will review your claim and either deny or approve your claim. However, you may want to contact an attorney to protect your rights in the event that a disagreement arises between you and the insurance company. Disputes often arise between policy holders and the insurance company when a claim is denied, payments are being delayed, or the damages were undervalued and underpaid.
After a massive storm like Hurricane Ida, there is generally an influx of lawsuits being brought against insurance companies by policy holders who feel they were not properly compensated. In an effort to reduce the number of suits, Louisiana announced a Hurricane Ida mediation program which begins this week. This program allows Louisiana policyholders that are at odds with their insurance company to resolve their disputes through this program created by the Louisiana Department of Insurance.
While a party has the choice of accepting or rejecting mediation, this voluntary mediation will proceed in the event that either the insurer or the policy holder makes a written offer to engage in mediation and the other party accepts. If a party initially denies mediation but later changes their mind, they may still be eligible to participate.
The program is available to all authorized property and casualty insurers to facilitate disputes for personal lines residential insurance claims of up to $50,000. There is a flat fee of $600 for the 90-minute mediation service, which both parties must agree to. The program is expected to be available through June 30, 2022.
To be best prepared, policyholders should come to the mediation with a complete list of damages. If new damage is found or repair costs are higher than anticipated, the terms of the mediated settlement will determine whether the policyholder may re-open the claim. Check out our hurricane damage checklist to be prepared for mediation.
A complete list of terms and conditions regarding mediation may be found here.
In addition, the policyholder may have an attorney or some other representative participate in the mediation. The only requirement is that they give those names to the mediator in advance. Both insurers and policyholders are also free to bring adjusters, appraisers, contractors or other witnesses to support their claim. Having an attorney present with you at mediation may be advantageous as it can increase your chances of having the dispute settled fairly.
Louisiana Insurance Commissioner Jim Donelon stated that he is “confident this new mediation program will be helpful in solving claim disputes between insurers and policyholders and getting people what they need to put their homes and lives back in order.”
If you or someone you love has been impacted by Hurricane Ida, call us today for a free consultation! PHONE CARDONE at 504-522-3333, 833-597-1818 (toll-free), 225-706-3920 (Baton Rouge office), or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.