The website for the Virgin Islands Office of the Lieutenant Governor Division of Banking, Insurance, and Financial Regulation is currently unavailable.
This information is being provided by the Virgin Islands Office of the Lieutenant Governor Division of Banking, Insurance, and Financial Regulation through the National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC) website.
NAIC NEWS RELEASE: NAIC Provides Support to US Virgin Islands After Hurricanes
Insurance consumers needing assistance can call this toll-free number:
Help Line hours: Monday — Friday
Office of the Lieutenant Governor
St. Thomas Office
Quick Reference for Consumers
- What information is required to file a claim under a commercial hurricane insurance policy?
- When filing a claim under your property insurance for hurricane damages, do you have the necessary information and documents for it to be processed?
- Can you make repairs on your home before making the insurance claim?
- Do you know how to file a claim your insurance after the hurricane or flood?
- Do you know if your property insurance covers you even if you had to vacate your residence because of the threat of a disaster?
- Do you know what to do if you want to make changes to your policy to protect your home?
- Where should you keep the documents related to your insurance policy?
- Who should claim your insurance?
- Do you know how long to wait to receive payment for your claim?
- After the disaster when your property has been damaged:
- What does the Department of Justice recommend to avoid purchasing a previously flooded vehicle? Can I access the National Motor Vehicle Title Information System (NMVTIS) to check a vehicle?
What information is required to file a claim under a commercial hurricane insurance policy?
- The name of the insured, policy number, physical address, contact person name and cellular phone number, and a brief description of the loss(es) (for example, computer equipment destroyed).
When filing a claim under your property insurance for hurricane damages, do you have the necessary information and documents for it to be processed?
- Prepare a detailed list, including costs, date of purchase, and serial numbers of all your household items.
- Add receipts to the list or inventory page. Your insurance company may request a copy of the receipts for any other items you claim.
- Take pictures or videos, of all your belongings and the structure that were damaged. Include the dates you took them. Also include photographs taken before the disaster.
Can you make repairs on your home before making the insurance claim?
Consider the following aspects:
- Make temporary repairs to protect your home and your property from major damage.
- Cover holes on the roof and walls with wood panels and use high resistance plastic to cover broken windows.
- Take pictures of damaged areas and goods.
- Be sure to receive proof of payment for labor and materials.
- Keep records, invoices and proof of payment until authorized representative, producer or adjuster visits you.
Do you know how to file an insurance claim after a hurricane or flood?
- Inspect your home for damage, if you do not have power, use a flashlight and avoid using candles to prevent possible fires.
- Report the situation to your insurer, producer or authorized representative in charge of your policy as soon as possible.
- Provide an address and a telephone number where you can be reached in case you have vacated your home.
- Present your photographs and inventory to help the adjuster assess damages.
- Have patience. Cases are processed according to their severity or difficulty.
Do you know if your property insurance covers you even if you had to vacate your residence because of the threat of a disaster?
Effectively, your insurance covers you, but before you evict your home:
- Cover all windows and doors.
- Secure all furniture and other items outside the home. -If you live in a mobile home, check that the moorings are secure.
- Inventory your belongings and take photos or video of everything.
- Keep this inventory list out of your property.
- If material damage occurs, this list will make it easier to make claims.
- Check that your insurance cover is adequate to protect those assets that you want to protect.
Do you know what to do if you want to make changes to your policy to protect your home?
- If you want to make changes to your policy, do not wait until the hurricane is imminent, call your insurer, producer or authorized representative as soon as possible. Then it might be too late. Do not waste time and act today before the first hurricane winds destroy what you have built with so much sacrifice.
- Any one of them can give you information about the premiums and covers available.
Where should you keep the documents related to your insurance policy?
Keep a copy of all important documents related to your residence insurance in a safe deposit box or in a safe place.
These documents include the insurance policy, inventories, and telephone numbers of your authorized representative, producer, and insurer.
You need this information to make your claim, if your property is damaged. As soon as you receive the evacuation notice, take all the documents related to the insurance policy you have kept in your home.
Who should claim your insurance?
File your claim directly with the insurer if possible. If this is not possible, you can do so through your producer or authorized representative.
An adjuster will assist you in this process.
The adjuster is a professionally trained person to determine the monetary amount that must be paid for the loss or damage occurred and claimed under an insurance policy.
The insurer will assign you an adjuster to service your claim. This represents the insurer. If you want to hire one that represents you, you must hire a public adjuster.
The public adjuster and the independent, must be licensed by the Office of the Insurance Commissioner for the line of business for which they perform the work.
Do you know how long to wait to receive payment for your claim?
The investigation, adjustment and resolution of any claim shall be made in the period of forty-five (45) after having submitted to the insurer all documents that are necessary to dispose of said claim.
The insurer may extend that first period, but such extension may never exceed ninety (90) days from the date the claim was submitted.
After the disaster when your property has been damaged:
- Call your producer, authorized representative or insurance company as soon as possible with your policy number or other pertinent information by hand. Ask what documents, forms, data or related information will be needed to initiate the claim. Keep a diary of all your conversations with insurers, creditors, producers, authorized representatives or adjusters.
- Take pictures or video of the damages.
- Make the necessary repairs to avoid additional damage to your property (covers broken windows, seals roof leaks and cracked walls) Do not make permanent arrangements until the insurance company has inspected the property and a cost agreement has been reached of repairs.
- Keep all receipts, including those for temporary repairs covered under your policy.
- If your property suffers from such damages that it is impossible to occupy it to live, ask your insurer if you are covered by additional housing costs.
- Take particular care with certain contractors who require full payment before starting the repair or before finishing the work. If the contractor needs the payment to purchase materials, go to the contractor and pay the supplier directly.
- Get more than one quote. Ask for references. Check with the Better Business Bureau or the Department of Consumer Affairs (DACO) for the contractor's reputation. Ask about your licenses, permits and insurance. Record the license plate and license number of the contractor.
- Contact the Office of the Commissioner of Insurance at 1-866-874-4905, free of charge, and through the website www.maria2017.naic.org. In the event of a dispute with your insurer regarding the transaction terms for the claim, contact us or visit us at GAM Tower, B5 Calle Tabonuco Suite 216, Guaynabo, PR.
The NAIC and the Office of the Insurance Commissioner are objective sources of information to help consumers understand the intricacies of insurance coverage.
What does the Department of Justice recommend to avoid purchasing a previously flooded vehicle? Can I access the National Motor Vehicle Title Information System (NMVTIS) to check a vehicle?
- Flooded-out vehicles are often declared a total loss by the insurer, at which point the vehicle should be issued a salvage title. A salvage title indicates the vehicle was deemed a total loss by an insurance company. These vehicles are usually sold at a salvage auction for parts. However, these vehicles can be legally resold if the flood damage is declared on the title.
- The National Motor Vehicle Title Information System (NMVTIS) is designed to prevent the concealment of flood damage and other vehicle histories. NMVTIS is overseen by the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) and offers information to help protect you from title fraud and unsafe vehicles. This is a nationwide database and the only one to which all junk and salvage yards, insurance carriers, salvage auctions and other businesses are required to report total loss and junk/salvage vehicles.
- While a car may look perfectly fine on the surface, there could be hidden defects. Flood damage can compromise a car's computer and safety mechanisms, which pose significant safety hazards. Also, your insurance company may not insure or fully insure a vehicle previously determined a total loss.
- For more information see the NAIC Consumer Alert: Buying a Used Car? Get the Facts Before You Act
Additional Hurricane Response Resources:
Information for Finding Loved Ones in the Virgin Islands
The American Red Cross Safe and Well website is a free public reunification tool that allows individuals and organizations to register and post messages to search for loved ones, or for individuals to indicate that they are safe. The site is always available, open to the public, and available in English and Spanish. There are a number of ways to use this service:
- Registrations and searches can be done directly on the website.
- Registrations can also be completed by texting SAFE to 78876. Messages exist in both Spanish and English.
- To speak with someone at the American Red Cross concerning a missing friend or relative who has a serious, pre-existing health or mental health condition, please contact 1-800 Red Cross (1-800-733-2767).
- The American Red Cross Emergency App features an "I'm Safe" button that allows users to post a message to their social accounts, letting friends and family know they are out of harm's way. The app can be downloaded for free in app stores by searching for "American Red Cross" or by texting 'GETEMERGENCY' to 90999.
FEMA: Hurricane Maria. The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) has created the following website to provide current resources and information on the federal response to Hurricane Maria.
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