Hurricane Ida and Emergency Rule 47
Hurricane Ida and Emergency Rule 47
In the aftermath of Hurricane Ida, the Louisiana Department of Insurance has issued Emergency Rule 47 to protect and extend insurance coverage for Louisiana residents. Among other things, Emergency Rule 47 prevents insurance companies from canceling, terminating and processing non-renewals of insurance policies of all sorts. Emergency Rule 47 went into effect on August 26, 2021 and is currently set to expire on September 27, 2021.
This is an important protection for residents of Louisiana because, if your insurance was due to be cancelled or non-renewed when Hurricane Ida made landfall, your insurance policy remains in force at least until September 27th. Thus, you may still make insurance claims for injuries or for property damage even if your coverage was set to expire during the term of Emergency Rule 47. Note that “make insurance claims” is not limited to hurricane-related claims. Your coverage continues even for something like a car accident or other personal injury claim that might be unrelated to Hurricane Ida.
More specifically, for insurance policies that were in effect as of 12:01 am on August 26, 2021, Emergency Rule 47 suspends any:
- Notice of cancellation
- Notice of non-renewal
- Notice of non-reinstatement or
- Any other notice related to any of the types of insurance
Emergency Rule 47 states that any such notices shall be “null and void” and have no legal effect. Further, any such notices must be newly reissued after the Emergency Rule expires. This is another protection for Louisiana policyholders since it adds a few more days of insurance coverage because it takes a few days for the insurance companies to issue various Notices.
Emergency Rule 47 also applies to insurance companies that are processing renewal decisions. The Rule states that “[t]he renewal conditions of all kinds of insurance … that are subject to renewal after the effective date of Emergency Rule 47 are suspended and shall be deferred until the expiration of Emergency Rule 47…”
Further, until the expiration of Emergency Rule 47, premiums are to remain as they were.
There are a couple of exceptions. Generally, Emergency Rule 47 does not prevent an insurance company from cancelling or terminating a policy for fraud or material misrepresentation on the part of the insured. Further, with respect to cancellations for nonpayment of premiums, any notice of cancellation or termination for that reason is SUSPENDED but continues during the term of Emergency Rule 47 and does NOT have to be reissued when the Emergency Rule expires. Note also that Emergency Rule 47 does not apply to new policies being issued.
What About Payment of Premiums?
Emergency Rule 47 also helps Louisiana policyholders in other ways. For example, Emergency Rule 47 suspends the obligation policyholders to pay their premiums. But policyholders are cautioned that the Rule does not “exempt or excuse an insured from the obligation to pay the premiums otherwise due for actual insurance coverage provided.” Rather, the Rule provides a “grace period” because Hurricane Ida has created conditions that may make it difficult for policyholders to pay their premiums on time. Insurance companies are directed to “work with” policyholders to come up with payment plans or extensions of time for payment of premiums that would have become due during the moratorium period established by Emergency Rule 47.
What About Notification of Claims?
Emergency Rule 47 also helps Louisiana policyholders by suspending the normal rules with respect to notifying an insurance carrier of claims. Normally, insurance claims must be made very soon after the accident or other event that gives rise to an insurance claim. Those rules are suspended for the duration of Emergency Rule 47. This is also a protection for Louisiana policy holders since “untimely” notice can often be used as a reason for denying coverage. Note that Emergency Rule 47 shall not relieve an insured who has a claim filed before or during the pendency of Emergency Rule 47 from compliance with the insured’s obligation to provide information and cooperate in the claim adjustment process relative to the claim.
Our Attorneys Can Help
For more information, contact the Louisiana insurance claims and personal injury lawyers at Mansfield, Melancon, Cranmer & Dick LLC. Contact us by calling one of our offices: New Orleans at (504) 500-1108, Baton Rouge at (225) 612-0800, or Lafayette at (337) 409-0003. You can also request a free consultation by using our “Contact Us” page.