Insurer may face House probe over nonpayment of Hurricane Maria claims
By The Star Staff
Rep. Yashira Lebrón Rodríguez announced on Wednesday a proposed investigation against MAPFRE for refusing to pay insurance for certain claims for damages caused by Hurricane Maria in 2017.
Lebrón said she would introduce a resolution in the House of Representatives to investigate why MAPFRE refuses to pay insurance claims that the Department of Housing, the Public Housing Administration and the Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation submitted to the firm.
The three agencies sued the Office of the Insurance Commissioner of Puerto Rico (OCS by its Spanish initials). Still, Lebrón said, the House must also investigate MAPFRE’S actions.
The legislator said she wants to know the causes of the delay “since it has been five years since the event, and that is too long.”
On Sept. 8, the departments of Housing and Correction and Rehabilitation, as well as the Public Housing Administration, filed lawsuits against MAPFRE before the OCS for not disbursing the payments associated with the claims filed by victims of Hurricane Maria.
“It is unlikely for an insurance company to refuse to comply with the policy for which it was contracted,” she said. “We want to see the reasons in black and white. Five years have passed.”
“This investigation has to take place because if this is happening to three government agencies, then it must be happening to MAPFRE’s private clients,” the Bayamón lawmaker said.
Lebrón and former Rep. Maricarmen Mas Rodríguez uncovered a scandal in which several public adjuster firms overestimated damages to private property after Hurricane Maria.
The complaints demand that the OCS begin an investigation process against MAPFRE, which may go as far as suspending the firm’s license to contract insurance in Puerto Rico.
MAPFRE officials did not answer requests for comment.