House to investigate unpaid claims related to January earthquakes
By The Star Staff
New Progressive Party Reps. Maricarmen Más Rodríguez and Yashira Lebrón Rodríguez announced on Monday that public hearings will be held on the delays in the payment of thousands of insurance claims related to damages caused by the January earthquakes.
“This cannot go on. We have been going for nine months since the impact of the earthquakes in the south and west of the island and unfortunately four out of 10 insurance claims for damages suffered have not been paid. But still, many of them were arbitrarily closed,” Mas Rodríguez said in a written communication. “Faced with this scenario, we are going to initiate a process of in-depth investigation by holding public hearings, including one in Mayagüez so that our people from the west can express themselves and seek solutions to this problem.”
According to official data from the Office of the Insurance Commissioner, as of July 31 of this year, some 19,253 claims had been made to insurance companies, of which 7,117 were closed without any payment.
“We believe that the number of claims paid, according to the Insurance Commissioner, of just 8,785, is relatively low,” said Lebrón Rodríguez, who chairs the House Committee on Consumer Affairs, Banking and Insurance. “We want to know the reason for this figure, as well as to know, in great detail, why around 40 percent of the claims were closed without issuing a single payment. There are many people who have complained about the processes through social networks and we want to hear from them directly. That is why we are going to open the process of public hearings.”
The investigation is to be carried out under House Resolution 54, which orders the Commission on Consumer Affairs, Banking and Insurance to conduct an investigation, of a continuous nature, on the validity, implementation and sufficiency of the legislation and regulations that have been approved to vindicate and protect the rights of consumers, as well as procedures, legislation and matters related to banking and insurance in Puerto Rico.