Carriers have been denying insureds’ claims using age-related wear, tear, and deterioration as an exclusion. Here, the carriers have taken the position that the damages to insureds’ properties are excluded from coverage because of the age of the property and the insureds’ failures to maintain their properties. This exclusion is commonly being used on properties that have older roofs as a means for denial of coverage.
If the carrier does decide to pay the Hurricane Irma claims, they typically only pay for repairs and not a full replacement of the damaged property. This is commonly seen on roof claims. With these claims that the carrier does afford coverage for, the carrier asserts that the roof only requires a partial repair instead of a full roof replacement. Many times, the payment is insufficient to actually perform the roof repair the carrier is paying their insureds for. The most difficult part to accept is that in certain situations, the field adjuster that inspected the property on the carrier’s behalf actually wrote an estimate which included a full roof replacement which was later modified by a desk adjuster within the insurance company that never went out to the property.
It has now been almost a full 9 months since most Hurricane Irma claims have been reported and many insureds are finding themselves still living in damaged properties with a new hurricane season underway and water making its way into the property each time it rains. Most insureds are genuinely afraid, and rightfully so. The carriers have put insureds in a position where they are living in properties with compromised roofs during a time when a second hurricane can potentially make landfall, putting their families’ and their safety at risk. This isn’t an accident.