El Niño, which means The Little Boy or Christ Child in Spanish, is a periodic warming of the central and eastern equatorial Pacific Ocean that occurs every 2 to 7 years. The weather pattern typically develops over western and central Canada, and over the western and northern U.S., resulting in wetter-than-average conditions over the U.S. Gulf Coast and Florida, and drier-than-average conditions in the Ohio Valley and the Pacific Northwest.
What’s the Problem?
If experts are correct and El Niño hits the U.S. with devastating storms, the number of insurance property damage claims will certainly go up. Most cases involve claims of water damage caused by rain or floods that leak into the interior of a home or business.
However, not all policyholders realize that insurance coverage from these types of damages is not automatic. Most homeowner policies specify that for water damage caused by rain to be covered, the storm must have damaged the roof or walls of the property first, allowing rain access into the home. If roof damage preceding the rain is absent, then chances are there will be no coverage for any ensuing water damage.
El Niño Insurance Claim Denials
Some of the most common types of El Niño insurance denial claims may include:
- Homeowners whose roofs have collapsed and cannot afford the repair, or who have to live in a hotel because the insurance company has delayed or denied payment.
- Building owners with damaged properties whose insurance companies are denying claims.
- Condo owners / apartment tenants whose associations / landlords refuse to pay for property damage.
- Ranchers / farm owners whose crops have either been directly damaged or who have had their business adversely affected due to storm damage.
Thousands Brace for Storm Damage, Report Warns
Meteorologists are predicting an unusually strong El Niño in 2016, based on higher-than-normal water temperatures in key regions of the Pacific Ocean. According to the National University System Institute for Policy Research (PDF), El Niño storms in California caused economic losses of more than $2 billion in 1982-83 and $804 million in 1997-98.
Problems caused by El Niño range from destroyed homes and buildings to shoreline erosion and road damage. Tourism and agriculture are also highly vulnerable. Visitors may avoid the region, and heavy storms with high winds can damage crops and destroy greenhouses.
El Niño to Cause Massive Flooding in California, FEMA Says
It’s the last advice most Californians would expect to hear, but according to the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), residents should buy flood insurance before it’s too late. With the strongest El Niño in nearly 20 years upon us, the winter is likely to bring wet weather to California that could cause serious flooding, even in low-risk areas.
“If there was ever a time to buy flood insurance, this is the time,” said Roy Wright, FEMA’s deputy associate administrator for insurance and mitigation.
It has been estimated that 50-70% of residents who live in high-risk areas currently don’t have El Niño flood insurance, and it might be difficult to convince people to buy coverage in the midst of a historic drought. More than 97% of California is currently in a drought, according to the U.S. Drought Monitor.
Do I Have an El Niño Insurance Denial Class Action Lawsuit?
The Bad Faith Litigation Group at our law firm is an experienced team of trial lawyers that focus on the representation of plaintiffs in El Niño denied insurance claim lawsuits. We are handling individual litigation nationwide and currently accepting new cases in all 50 states.
Free Confidential Case Evaluation: Again, If your insurance claim was denied for El Niño weather damage, you should contact our law firm immediately. You may be entitled to compensation by filing a class action suit and our lawyers can help.