Many coastal homeowners remain unaware of the hurricane deductibles included in their homeowners’ insurance policies. A recent Insurance Research Council (IRC) poll found that almost five years after Superstorm Sandy, one third of homeowners in several coastal states, including New Jersey, North Carolina, South Carolina, Florida and Texas, are still unclear about hurricane deductibles and how they work.
Some of the more notable findings are as follows:
- 33 percent of homeowners surveyed had never heard of hurricane deductibles or were not sure what they are.
- 25 percent of homeowners polled did not have an understanding of deductibles in general.
- New Jersey respondents had the lowest level of understanding of deductible issues, even though about 346,000 in New Jersey were damaged or destroyed by Superstorm Sandy in 2012.
Education around homeowners’ insurance policies and hurricane deductibles specifically may help insurers and insureds avoid misunderstandings in the aftermath of potentially catastrophic events like hurricanes.
Homeowner insurance education could be especially important due to continually climbing hurricane predictions and the commencement of the 2017 hurricane season, which lasts June 1 through November 1.
Forecasts regarding East Coast storm activity in 2017 continue to increase, according to a recent Business Insurance article. The Weather Co. is projecting a total of 15 named storms and eight hurricanes for the North Atlantic basin this season. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration predicts that two to four of these hurricanes will be very significant.
About Hurricane Deductibles
Hurricane deductibles were introduced by insurance carriers after Hurricane Andrew in 1992, as a way to share risks associated with coastal property damage. The goal of the insurance industry is to keep premiums at an affordable level by having the policyholder pay certain storm-specific costs beyond the annual premium.
A hurricane deductible is the amount of loss that must be paid by the insured before any claim for damages is paid by the insurer. The hurricane deductible can be stated as a certain dollar amount, but is most often defined as a percentage of the home’s insured value. A hurricane deductible is generally separate and apart from other policy deductibles.
Policyholders with questions about the hurricane deductible for their homeowners or business insurance are advised to speak with their insurance agent or qualified counsel.
Click here to read about Bill Hager’s Homeowners’ Insurance expertise.
Bill Hager’s Experience as an Insurance Expert
Mr. Hager has extensive and substantive experience relating directly to wide range of insurance policies, including interpreting policy language and determining the insurer’s obligations under such policies. He served as a regulator for eight years in five positions:
- Commissioner of Insurance (Iowa);
- First Deputy Commissioner of Insurance;
- Member of the National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC);
- Administrative Law Judge f/k/a Hearing Officer at the Department of Insurance (IA); and
- Assistant Attorney General assigned on a full-time basis to the Department of Insurance.
In these positions, Mr. Hager, along with his staff, approved (or disapproved) of the language of insurance policies used by each of the insurance companies doing business in the state of Iowa. This regulatory action also included the approval of policy application forms. In addition, he regularly served as an Administrative Law Judge (then known as a “Hearing Officer”) in matters relating directly to insurance policies.
While Commissioner, Mr. Hager also served as a member of the National Association of Insurance Commissioners (“NAIC”) and participated as a member of its Executive Committee.
In addition, Hager has served in the following capacities:
- President and Chief Executive Officer of NCCI, a major property casualty insurance entity;
- Elected Member of the Florida House of Representatives with service on the Insurance Committees;
- General Counsel and Chief Lobbyist to the American Academy of Actuaries;
- Attorney in private practice;
Click on the link to read more about Mr. Hager’s insurance expertise.
Material for this article was taken from a collection of industry sources relating to the subject.
In all of the general statements here, see the state law of the controlling jurisdiction. Every case is different and circumstances vary widely depending on the governing state law, policy provisions, and related considerations.
This blog is provided for educational purposes only. It is not intended to provide legal advice or an opinion in regard to any topic discussed. The blog should not be used as a substitute for legal advice from a licensed attorney in your state.