Hurricane Ian: Discussing Wind-Water Disputes

Cone bending in the wind over water

The oft-stated maxim is that homeowner’s policies cover damage caused by wind but not flood waters.

October 10, 2022
Randy J. Maniloff - White and Williams LLP

“Most of the Florida homes in the path of Hurricane Ian lack flood insurance, posing a major challenge to rebuilding efforts, new data show. In the counties whose residents were told to evacuate, just 18.5 percent of homes have coverage through the National Flood Insurance Program, according to Milliman, an actuarial firm that works with the program.”

That’s how a September 29th article on The New York Times website begins.

When it comes to insurance coverage for hurricanes, the oft-stated maxim is that homeowner’s policies cover damage caused by wind but not flood waters.

Such a low take-up rate for flood insurance policies would seemingly create an incentive for those affected by Hurricane Ian to argue, when feasible, that their property damage, despite appearing to have been caused by flood, was also caused by wind. [And, of course, businesses looking to make business interruption claims, under commercial property policies, will be in the same boat.]

Further, even when someone has a homeowner’s policy and a flood policy, there may still be a reason to argue that the loss was caused by wind, as homeowner’s policies often have greater limits than flood policies.

[As an important aside, when hurricane damages are covered, homeowner’s policies can have a significant deductible, perhaps up to 10% of a home’s insured value.]

Mr. Maniloff may be contacted at maniloffr@whiteandwilliams.com



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