Puerto Rico insurers ‘ready’ for hurricane season
Insurance providers grouped under the Puerto Rico Association of Insurance Companies (ACODESE, in Spanish) have their different contingency plans ready to deal with any emergency that arises during the hurricane season that began June 1, the Association’s Executive Director Iraelia Pernas said.
Pernas said that as part of the preparation process, and as a result of Act 244 of 2018, a new Article 3,331 was added to the Insurance Code that establishes the duty of every insurer to present an emergency plan in the event of a catastrophe or emergency to the Insurance Commissioner.
“All ACODESE partner insurers have complied with this requirement. Before the amendment, insurers had their Disaster Plan, but certification from a disaster recovery specialist was not required. With the enactment of Act 244, it is mandatory to send it to the regulator and it must be certified,” said Pernas.
The plan aims to ensure the continuity of its services in the event of a catastrophic event. It covers situations confronted after Hurricane María and must be certified by a professional expert in business continuity planning or disaster recovery.
If there are no changes in the previously certified plan, it will not be necessary to require an annual certification, but rather submit a certification that the Plan has not undergone changes.
“Either way, the plan has to be reviewed by a continuity planning expert at least every five years. It must be presented on or before March 31 of each year,” Pernas said.
The emergency plan includes:
- Description of the strategic processes for the continuity of services and operations after a catastrophic event or emergency;
- Processes for the activation of emergency adjusters and/or the use of adjusters from other states or foreign countries, including the required work permits and necessary training in claims adjustment;
- Hotlines for assistance and information services; and,
- Temporary facilities or locations to operate and attend claims.
“We’re definitely better prepared to deal with any situation with greater rigor and agility,” said Pernas, adding that “it’s critical that consumers, whether they are home or business owners, evaluate their insurance coverage to be properly protected in the event of a hurricane.”
“We all have that pending assignment. Everybody should consult with an authorized representative or broker to verify their insurance details and make any necessary changes. This has to be done before the hurricane warning arrives, because given those warnings, the markets close,” Pernas said.