It is now one month since Superstorm Sandy made landfall on the US east coast and estimates are showing upwards of $50 billion in losses with $20 billion (if not more) in insured losses from storm damage. Politicians are seeking more federal aid for areas hardest hit by the storm as the clean-up continues on the coast. Many homes and businesses have sustained heavy wind and flood damage in the wake of the superstorm. It is important for those affected to review their property insurance policies when beginning to prepare their disaster claims.
Commercial property policies may cover both wind and flood damage but policy deductibles and exclusions are the real deciders when it comes to classifying the type of loss that occurred. In some instances, concurrent wind and flood damage can lead to a claim denial due to one of the two types of losses not being covered in the policy language. Policies often contain exclusions for resulting mold damage, collapse, pollution, etc… as well.
On 11.7.12, a strong nor’easter storm struck parts of the Sandy hit Northeast further damaging already affected areas and in many cases, worsening Sandy’s damage to homes and businesses. Policyholders are now faced with assessing whether new damage is a result of one or two separate occurrences as the amount of your coverage may hinge on the order of and number of damaging events.
Businesses affected by the storms are likely now dealing with business interruption coverage issues. Property damage is the usual trigger for business interruption coverage however again; policy language and exceptions can complicate these types of claims.
Insurance companies have teams of experts working for them as they process claims for their insured’s. It only stands to reason that the policyholder (whether homeowner, business owner or both) should be well prepared and represented by a team of independent, unbiased experts as well. Policy language is usually very complex and difficult to navigate alone. Yet as we’ve pointed out, it is imperative to know what your policy covers in relation to the type of damage you’ve sustained. With the insurance industry constantly moving towards a more profit driven approach to claims (and using powerful software to do it), it is of the utmost importance for policyholders to be represented fairly and informed and consulted outside of the realm of their brokers. Many find their claims delayed and denied at a time when they need it most. If this happens to you or your business do you know who is in your corner?
- Hurricane Sandy FAQs: What Is Covered–Or Not–In Your Insurance Policies (prnewswire.com)
- Business Interruption Insurance: What It Will — and Won’t — Cover (news.terra.com)
- Devastated by Sandy, some N.J. businesses see lifeline in ‘interruption’ insurance (nj.com)