Policyholders in Puerto Rico should be aware of significant benefits provided by recent amendments to the Insurance Code. New rules establish an expedited method of property insurance dispute resolution, mandatory expedited partial payments in the event of catastrophic events, and protection against bad faith claims handling by insurers.
Appraisal Process with a Puerto Rican Twist
A key amendment is the establishment of an appraisal process, widely used for many years in the United States and now adopted in Puerto Rico. Commercial and personal property insurers in Puerto Rico shall include, in their policies, a clause for an appraisal process according to Article 11.150 of the Insurance Code of Puerto Rico, 26 L.P.R.A. § 101 et seq. (“the Code”).
The appraisal process provides both policyholders and insurers the option to submit insurance claims to an impartial umpire if a dispute arises over the value of covered damages or losses. The umpire and appraisers do not have authority to resolve coverage or legal issues. They can only resolve disputes over the quantum claimed for losses already determined to be covered by the insurer. Id. Each party is required to pay its own appraiser’s fees and split equally the fees of the umpire. Id.
Reprinted courtesy of Andres Avila, Saxe Doernberger & Vita, P.C. and Richard W. Brown, Saxe Doernberger & Vita, P.C.
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