As we learned during the flooding in South Louisiana in August of 2016, the help of our neighbors and friends in Texas and around the country strengthened us, and allowed our communities to rebuild and flourish. That’s part of the reason Kean Miller donated a total of $25,000 this week to the Greater Houston Community
By R. Lee Vail
On June 1, 2011, the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, Regulation and Enforcement (BOEMRE) issued a notice to Gulf of Mexico Outer Continental Shelf Region (GOMR) lease and pipeline right-of-way (ROW) holders on reporting hurricane and tropical storm effects. Specifically, the recent notice, designated NTL No. 2011-G01(1), requires four…
On September 30, 2010, the Internal Revenue Service issued guidance providing relief to homeowners who have suffered property losses due to the effects of certain imported drywall installed in homes between 2001 and 2009. In particular, the IRS issued Revenue Procedure 2010-36 which enables affected taxpayers to treat damages from corrosive drywall as a casualty loss and provides a ”safe harbor” formula for determining the amount of the loss.
Throughout 2004–2007 a housing boom along with a series of hurricanes in the Gulf of Mexico combined to create a shortage of drywall in the United States. Needing drywall to build the homes that were much in demand, suppliers turned abroad. Chinese manufacturers stepped in, providing cheap and readily available material. This influx of Chinese drywall was concentrated in Florida, Louisiana, and Mississippi; the states most affected by Hurricanes Wilma, Katrina, and Rita. Since 2006, it has been estimated by some sources that more than 550 million pounds of drywall have been imported from China. There are reports that some 100,000 homes could possibly be affected nationwide.
June marks the beginning of Hurricane Season and should serve as a reminder to review your personal and business property insurance coverage. The effect of recent Hurricanes on the Gulf Coast generally and Louisiana specifically have been significant with respect to both damages and the insurance covering those damages.
In the aftermath of Hurricanes Gustav and Ike, homeowners filing flood insurance claims under the National Flood Insurance Program’s (“NFIP’s”) Standard Flood Insurance Policy (“SFIP”) should exercise extreme caution to avoid running afoul of the SFIP’s Proof of Loss requirement.
SFIP policies require that insureds asserting a claim file a Proof of Loss within 60 days, subject to such extensions as FEMA may approve, listing “the actual cash value of each damaged item of insured property, the amount of damage sustained, and the amount claimed as due under the policy to cover the loss."
Courts have consistently enforced this requirement in an extremely strict and severe manner, holding that failure to timely file a Proof of Loss complying with the regulatory requirements is a valid basis for denying an insured’s claim. If the policyholder does not strictly comply with the Proof of Loss requirement, the policyholder may not file suit to recover under its SFIP. That the insured’s losses are covered under the policy is irrelevant. The conduct of the insurer/adjuster in adjusting the claim is irrelevant. Timely filing a proper proof of loss is essential to filing suit under the SFIP.
As Insurance claims continue to be adjusted and paid out, Louisiana residential, commercial, and industrial property owners will begin the process of contracting with Contractors to repair hurricane damage. As you do so, be mindful of Louisiana’s Contractors’ Licensing law and its potential impact on you. First, know that the purpose of the licensing law is to protect Louisiana’s citizens by attempting to ensure that contractors have at least a minimal level of financial resources and insurance coverage, basic construction knowledge, and some accountability for their financial obligations. The benefit to citizens is the initial screening or weeding out of contractors that have absolutely no business in that business. It’s not foolproof, but it does help.
By the Admiralty and Maritime Team
Hurricane Gustav recently wreaked havoc and felled trees throughout the heavily wooded areas of Southeast Louisiana. As such, many property owners may be concerned who bears the responsibility for a fallen tree. Obviously, if a tree in a homeowner’s yard falls on his house, then that homeowner should contact his insurance agent for assistance in repairing the tree damage. The remainder of this article addresses the issue of tree-owner responsibility when a tree located on the property of one person (the “tree owner”) falls on the property of his neighbor (the “property owner”) damaging the house, car, fence or other property.
Property taxes in Louisiana are based on the fair market value of taxable property. The assessors make the fair market value determination based upon the status and condition of property as of January 1 of each tax year. Certain types of immovable property are generally revalued every four years; however if market conditions suggest changes in fair market value, adjustments can be made during the four year cycle. Most equipment and personal property is valued annually. La. R.S. 47:1978 and La. R.S. 47:1978.1 provide relief provisions for property owners that sustain damage after January 1 due to flooding or a natural disaster.
According to a news release, the Louisiana Department of Economic Development (LED) has established new resources for hurricane-affected businesses in Louisiana.
The LED Business Recovery Call Center was activated on September 8th and offers recovery-related resources for businesses needing help in the aftermath of Hurricane Gustav. The call center can be reached at 1-877-610-3LED (3533). Information on business’ recovery needs will…