Hurricane Insurance Dispute Attorneys in Louisiana
Dedicated to helping victims of Gulf Coast hurricanes for 25 years
If you live in Louisiana, we don’t have to tell you about the massive damage hurricanes can wreak on your property. Our area is prone to hurricanes and tropical storms because of its prime location on the Gulf Coast. The history, beauty, and mild weather attracts people and tourists to Louisiana, but this weather can also turn on a dime and become incredibly destructive.
Louisiana and New Orleans residents are resilient, enduring hurricanes and storms like Hurricanes Katrina, Gustav, Ivan, Isidore, and Rita. However, resilience only goes so far when you’ve lost everything. The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) can only help so much, and the government isn’t known for moving quickly. You need your insurance policy to kick in and you need it now. The insurance dispute attorneys at Warhurst Law can help. Put our years of experience with the insurance industry to work for you.
Why are Louisiana hurricanes so destructive?
The Insurance Information Institute (III) collects and analyzes data from the National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC) to compile and publish statistics about all aspects of insurance, broken down by state. Louisiana is prone to catastrophic hurricanes and flooding, costing our citizens both their property and sometimes their lives. According to the III:
- Hurricane Katrina (2005) was the costliest hurricane in both Louisiana and the United States, causing over $25.4 billion in insured losses – which translates to approximately $33.4 billion in current dollars.
- The National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) paid out $13.1 billion in flood insurance losses related to Katrina. Standard property insurance policies typically don’t cover flood damage. The NFIP covers losses, or individuals must have extra insurance coverage.
- The III estimates that about 843,000 homes in Louisiana are at risk for the 2020 hurricane season. Storm surge damage would cost up to $200 billion to completely rebuild.
- More and more people are moving to the Louisiana coast. From 2010 to 2015, the population of coastal areas rose by four percent. As of 2015, 79 percent of Louisiana’s total population lived in coastal counties.
Longtime Louisiana citizens know how to deal with wild weather. The National Weather Service (NWS) categorizes hurricanes by strength, which sometimes help residents prepare their homes or businesses to weather the storms as best as they can.
What are hurricane categories and what do they mean?
The National Hurricane Center categorizes hurricanes on the Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Wind Scale. They base this on a hurricane’s wind speed and potential for property damage, with Category One being the least destructive and Category Five being the most destructive.
Category One hurricane
Category 1 hurricanes have sustained wind speeds of 74 to 95 miles per hour. Well-constructed frame homes could have damage to roofs, shingles, vinyl siding and gutters. Large branches of trees will snap and shallowly rooted trees may be toppled. Extensive damage to power lines and poles likely will result in power outages that could last a few to several days. An example of a Cat 1 hurricane is Danny from 1985.
Category Two hurricane
A Category 2 storm has sustained winds of 96 to 110 miles per hour. Well-constructed frame homes could sustain major roof and siding damage. Many shallowly rooted trees will be snapped or uprooted and block numerous roads. Near-total power loss is expected with outages that could last from several days to weeks. An example of a Cat 2 hurricane is Erin in 1995.
Category Three hurricane
Category 3 hurricanes have winds from 111 to 129 miles per hour. Well-built framed homes may incur major damage or removal of roof decking and gable ends. Many trees will be snapped or uprooted, blocking numerous roads. Electricity and water will be unavailable for several days to weeks after the storm passes. An example of a Cat 3 hurricane is Katrina, which nearly decimated New Orleans in 2005.
Category Four hurricane
Category 4s have winds up to 156 miles per hour. Well-built framed homes can sustain severe damage with loss of most of the roof structure and/or some exterior walls. Most trees will be snapped or uprooted and power poles downed. Fallen trees and power poles will isolate residential areas. Power outages will last weeks to possibly months. Most of the area will be uninhabitable for weeks or months. An example of a Cat 4 hurricane is Ike in 2008.
Category Five hurricane
The most intense type of hurricane, a category five hurricane brings winds 157 mph or higher. Catastrophic damage will occur. A high percentage of framed homes will be destroyed, with total roof failure and wall collapse. Fallen trees and power poles will isolate residential areas. Power outages will last for weeks to possibly months. Most of the area will be uninhabitable for weeks or months. An example of a Cat 5 hurricane is Andrew from 1992.
Property damage caused by Louisiana hurricanes and storms
In the aftermath of a hurricane, whether a Category 1 or a Category 5, insurance companies see an overwhelming amount of property damage claims. Although high winds are the primary cause of property damage, flooding from storm surges causes a massive amount of damage as well.
Structural damage is easy to see during and after a hurricane – downed trees and power lines, damage to roads and bridges, shattered windows, wrecked boats, and crushed vehicles. However, tropical storms and hurricanes leave invisible, life-threatening hazards as well:
- Bacteria, mold, and other health conditions from standing water
- Homelessness or loss of business
- Loss of utilities like electric, gas, and landline phone service – without utility services, families may be unable to eat, perform basic hygiene, or get to their jobs
- Water contamination from raw sewage, gas, and oil
Cleanup from high-category hurricanes can take months or even years. Insurance companies are notorious for dragging their feet when paying out property insurance claims. Your homeowners or business insurance company may state that your damage is from flooding, and to file with your flood insurance policy. Your flood insurer may state that your damage is from wind and rain and to go back to your property insurance company.
The insurance dispute attorneys at Warhurst Law can step in and put the ball in the right court, so to say.