Insurers ordered to pay Ida’s evacuation costs

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Insurance Commissioner Jim Donelon on Tuesday ordered insurers to pay insureds’ expenses for the evacuation of Hurricane Ida, as damaged infrastructure and unsafe living conditions in southeast Louisiana continue to prevent losses from occurring. people to go home.

Directive 218, released Tuesday, requires insurers to pay loss of use claims from policyholders who have evacuated or have been banned from using their premises due to the storm. The order follows bulletin 2021-07, which was released last Friday and asked insurers to voluntarily pay claims for prohibited use even though parishes had not issued a formal mandatory evacuation order.

Commissioner Donelon bolstered the Louisiana Department of Insurance’s regulatory action over the loss of use issue after State Farm, the state’s largest housing insurer, said it would not pay the claims for loss of use where no express order of civil authority was in place.

“Hurricane Ida was a clear and present danger to the citizens of Louisiana,” said Commissioner Donelon. “Officials from across the region have been on the air to send the message that people should leave or stay in a safe place. Insurers must view the many different actions taken by officials as an order to leave and pay people who have coverage for their expenses. “

The directive for insurers to provide coverage applies to policies in the 25 parishes listed in Emergency Rule 47, a measure issued by Commissioner Donelon to protect policyholders from cancellations and non-renewals after Hurricane Ida .

President Biden last week urged insurance companies to pay the cost of evacuating people as he visited the devastated area of ​​St. John the Baptist parish. Commissioner Donelon joined President Biden in the demand as he heard from voters that many companies were refusing loss of use claims.

Most home insurance policies include Supplemental Living Expense (ALE) coverage as part of the Prohibited Use coverage which typically pays additional expenses for up to two weeks when an evacuation order prohibits policyholders. to live in their house. When homeowners experience physical damage to their properties that is covered by insurance, Additional Living Expense coverage will cover additional, longer-term expenses if a home is uninhabitable during repair.

Anyone facing Hurricane Ida-related expenses that are not covered by insurance should seek individual assistance from the Federal Emergency Management Agency. National Flood Insurance Program policies do not cover additional living expenses.

The Louisiana Department of Insurance encourages everyone to keep receipts for any additional expenses they face after a disaster. Additional Living Expense Coverage covers expenses beyond an insured’s normal expenses for accommodation and food, such as the cost of a hotel room or rental apartment and reasonable meals at home. restaurant when someone is unable to cook.

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