California floods demand state insurance rethink – Perri

A leading US consumer claims expert has told Emerging Risks that local and state governments in the US need to ensure that their insurance departments remain pro-policyholder in the wake of rising natural catastrophe threats.

Vince Perri CEO Elite Resolutions was speaking as California was braced for a second weave of heavy rain and flooding. Earlier this month severe storms dropped nearly a foot of rainfall in some parts of the state. Highway and road closures only contributed to the difficulty as residents and first responders sought to cope with the aftermath, dealing with flooding, landslides, and rockslides.

with another storm threwa5tening the states, there are expectations that parts of central and northern California and Nevada expecting up to six inches of additional rainfall.

With such widespread damage, millions will be faced with recovering once the rainfall subsides, Perri warned.

However asked what he felt the response from insurers will be Perri said:” Insurers are probably not going to do much, but insureds can make sure they have an updated copy of their policy easily accessible – either in hand, or ready at the touch of a button. They should have their policy reviewed immediately, by a claims or insurance professional, just to have an idea of the coverages they have and whether or not they are covered for any potential storms.”

However he said state regulators need to examine their insurance statutes to ensure that the changing risk climate was better reflected.

“In regard to insurance, local and state governments can make sure that the Department of Insurance, and insurance regulation, is pro-consumer and pro-policy holder, and making sure that the proper coverages exist to cover any kind of damage from these potential storms.” He explained. “What we run into is government officials not being very consumer friendly, and being more insurance company friendly, and allowing insurance companies to implement policy provisions and exclusions that do not benefit the homeowner or policyholder.”

California has done a significant amount around its building codes to mitigate the risk of earthquakes in California but does the change in weather patterns require a rethink in building design to make them more floodproof?

“I think it’s too soon to tell or start rethinking building design,” Perri added. “It’s good that there’s rain coming to California because California has been in drought for so long, so this is not necessarily a bad thing. I think to start rethinking design is a little too soon and premature to start doing so.

“People just need to make sure that they have insurance, that they are covered, and they have the proper coverages in their policy. They also need to make sure that their home is prepared, and that they are prepared, for the worst case scenario, if that were to come about. Preparation is key.”