What About My Property Insurance Claim During the COVID-19 Crisis?

The Loss Recovery Law Group, PL.

On March 16, 2020, the Florida Office of Insurance Regulation (OIR) advised all insurance companies doing business in the State of Florida that they must review and update their Business Continuity Plans and/or Continuity of Operation Plans immediately in light of the Coronavirus COVID-19 crisis.  Insurers’ plans must provide a framework for the continuation of company operations, including key insurance functions such as policy issuance, premium collection, claims adjustment and payment and policyholder service.

The continuity plans should also account for Florida Department of Health and Centers for Disease Control guidance surrounding COVID-19, including executive orders issued at the state and national level.

Critical for all Florida property insurance policyholders, OIR then issued Informational Memorandum OIR-20-04M on March 25 to all insurers and entities regulated by the OIR to provide general guidance on the treatment of policyholders as part of the state’s ongoing efforts to protect Floridians.

As a result, those regulated entities, which includes property and casualty insurers, are encouraged to be flexible with premium payments in order to avoid policyholders having a lapse in coverage.  According to the OIR, that flexibility can include:

1. Relaxing premium due dates;

2. Extending grace or reinstatement periods;

3. Waiving late fees and penalties; and

4. Allowing payment plans.

Insofar as claims adjusting, the OIR is encouraging insurers to explore virtual options.  While this is not a mandate, the OIR wrote “Given the guidance issued by the State of Florida regarding social distancing, the OIR specified its understanding that consumers may not be able or willing to receive in-person inspections of insured property for the purposes of binding or issuing new or renewal insurance policies, wind mitigation inspections, or adjusting a claim and employers may not be able or willing to receive in-person auditors for audits of its business records.  Therefore, regulated entities, agents, consumers, and employers are strongly encouraged to explore virtual options for underwriting and adjusting claims in lieu of in-person property inspections and for premium audits of employers’ records.”

Insurers are encouraged to only consider cancellation of policies if all possible efforts to work with consumers to continue coverage have been exhausted, the OIR added.

To read the complete Bulletin, click here:  https://www.floir.com/siteDocuments/OIR-20-04M.pdf

Should you experience any problem with your homeowners or property insurance claim during this uncertain time, please contact the lawyers at The Loss Recovery Law Group.