Hawaii Commissioner Erred; Some Lava Claims May be Excluded

By | May 14, 2018

  • May 15, 2018 at 11:49 am
    Rosenblatt says:
    Like or Dislike:
    Thumb up 4
    Thumb down 0

    Like it wasn’t bad enough for residents of the area having to deal with erupting volcano(es) and liquid hot magma — I know, it’s called lava when it’s on the surface, but I was using my Dr. Evil voice — but now they have to deal with “I thought everyone had full coverage since the Insurance Commissioner said so … wait, now we’re not sure?”

    Anyone know if the insurance commissioner can have an estoppel claim filed against him if someone repaired their home or took other financial action thinking there’d be coverage, prior to when the Commissioner made his second clarifying statement?

    • May 15, 2018 at 2:05 pm
      TN says:
      Like or Dislike:
      Thumb up 6
      Thumb down 0

      No that’s the burning question on everyone’s mind. I’m sure they’re going to hot foot it to the courthouse to file their lawsuits and strike while the iron’s hot.

    • May 15, 2018 at 2:42 pm
      CO_yeti says:
      Like or Dislike:
      Thumb up 1
      Thumb down 0

      The lava flows are still active… I don’t anyone with an affected house is allowed home yet let alone starting repairs. As Jack Handley once said “If you ever drop your keys in a river of lava, just forget about them… because man they’re gone.”

      • May 15, 2018 at 2:56 pm
        Rosenblatt says:
        Like or Dislike:
        Thumb up 0
        Thumb down 0

        Not that you needed my $0.02, but that’s definitely a valid point.

  • May 15, 2018 at 1:25 pm
    Derby says:
    Like or Dislike:
    Thumb up 1
    Thumb down 0

    I thought “volcanic eruption” was a covered cause of loss ever since Mt. St. Helen’s blew.

    • May 15, 2018 at 2:55 pm
      Rosenblatt says:
      Like or Dislike:
      Thumb up 0
      Thumb down 0

      Not sure if HI uses the ISO HO3, but I do see some room for confusion. We know HO3’s are open peril policies which must specifically exclude a peril to warrant a denial, but does it??

      Section 1 – Coverage A & B – We do not insure, however, for loss: (3)(5) (5) Discharge, dispersal, seepage, migration, release or escape of pollutants unless the discharge, dispersal, seepage, migration, release or escape is itself caused by a Peril Insured Against under Coverage C of this policy. Pollutants means any solid, liquid, gaseous or thermal irritant or contaminant, including smoke, vapor, soot, fumes, acids, alkalis, chemicals and waste. Waste includes mate-rials to be recycled, reconditioned or re-claimed;

      Could a shady carrier try to pinch a penny here and try to argue volcanoes spew irritants, pollutants, contaminants, smoke, vapor and fumes and argue that’s excluded?

      Separately, we know any damage resulting from an earthquake that occurred due to a volcano would definitely be denied: Section 1 Exclusions – (1)(b) b. Earth Movement, meaning earthquake including land shock waves or tremors before, during or after a volcanic eruption; landslide; mine subsidence; mudflow; earth sinking, rising or shifting; unless direct loss by Fire; Explosion…

      My point is – it’s a gray area, and if someone took reasonable and prudent measures to mitigate the damage, presuming the loss would be covered because the insurance commissioner said it would be, could that expose the comissh to an estoppel claim if the carrier ultimately denies coverage? Who knows? Not me … that’s why I’m here asking about it :)

      • May 15, 2018 at 4:13 pm
        CO_yeti says:
        Like or Dislike:
        Thumb up 4
        Thumb down 0

        From an earlier article; by either statue or rule Hawaii has declared that damage from a lava flow is considered a fire peril in the state. That clears up a lot of gray area… for standard/filed policies like a HO2 or HO3 or similar that all admitted carriers would use. However, like a lot of insurance, it is more nuanced in this situation because this current eruption is actually a flair up of a continual eruption that has been happening (I believe) since the early 1990s.

        Because of that, those houses in the danger zone have been in a known extremely high hazard area. No standard/admitted carrier would insure those properties and agents had to place their clients on the surplus market which uses unfilled forms and can vary wildly.

        As for suing the commissioner, almost 100% of the time government officials are protected. The more common situation after a natural disaster is for the state to make money available for those with uncovered property losses.

        • May 16, 2018 at 12:20 pm
          Rosenblatt says:
          Like or Dislike:
          Thumb up 2
          Thumb down 0

          Oh my — my comment got removed?? All I did was thank CO_Yeti for the information and said it was helpful. I didn’t post anything political, off-topic, insulting, or derogatory. Why would you remove a comment simply thanking another user for their insurance-related input? That is absurd!!!!!

          So — again — thank you for that information, CO_yeti. I really appreciate it. I hope this post stays up long enough for you to see it.

  • May 15, 2018 at 2:47 pm
    CO_yeti says:
    Like or Dislike:
    Thumb up 5
    Thumb down 0

    Good to know a NAIC officer has such a great grasp of the insurance industry that he feels able to make incredible boneheaded blanket statements to the public. Does he even know what a surplus lines policy is?

  • May 15, 2018 at 7:15 pm
    Bill says:
    Like or Dislike:
    Thumb up 0
    Thumb down 0

    Erroneous statements from insurance departments is nothing new. One state’s commissioner made a blanket statement that if you don’t have comprehensive auto coverage, deer collisions aren’t covered. Another said renting your home out during the Obama inauguration wasn’t covered. Another said losses arising from fireworks isn’t covered. The list goes on.

    • May 16, 2018 at 10:11 am
      sal says:
      Like or Dislike:
      Thumb up 0
      Thumb down 0

      could someone make the argument that the insurance commissioner originally said their claim was covered if their claim is denied? I’ve heard of cases where a claim ended up being paid because an underwriter said it would be covered in an email, even though the policy language actually didn’t say this.

  • May 16, 2018 at 5:28 pm
    CCC says:
    Like or Dislike:
    Thumb up 0
    Thumb down 0

    Even a Basic Perils form specifically names “Volcanic Action” as a covered peril. I guess if these homes were in a known active volcanic area, it would make sense that this peril would be excluded…

  • May 17, 2018 at 9:07 am
    Captain Planet says:
    Like or Dislike:
    Thumb up 1
    Thumb down 0

    Just bringing some levity to the circumstances. I do truly feel awful for anyone impacted by this disaster. I cannot fathom what it must be like to see a wall of lava flowing towards your home.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yVo1S52xdpI

    • May 17, 2018 at 9:24 am
      Rosenblatt says:
      Like or Dislike:
      Thumb up 0
      Thumb down 0

      Hey – stop copying me! :D “Like it wasn’t bad enough for residents of the area having to deal with erupting volcano(es) and liquid hot magma — I know, it’s called lava when it’s on the surface, but I was using my Dr. Evil voice”

      • May 17, 2018 at 12:12 pm
        Captain Planet says:
        Like or Dislike:
        Thumb up 0
        Thumb down 0

        Sorry Rosenblatt, I missed that.

        • May 17, 2018 at 1:46 pm
          Rosenblatt says:
          Like or Dislike:
          Thumb up 0
          Thumb down 0

          All good. Just having fun. It is a perfect reference for this article :)

  • June 7, 2018 at 4:08 am
    Nick says:
    Like or Dislike:
    Thumb up 0
    Thumb down 0

    You would think we would live in a world where an insurance agent of 10 years would know if a filed claim would be approved or not without any doubt before he or she filed the claim. I guess we don’t live in that kind of world.

  • June 7, 2018 at 10:26 pm
    Grumpigramp says:
    Like or Dislike:
    Thumb up 0
    Thumb down 0

    Its going to be interesting to see insurance companies try and prove a house was destroyed by lava and not fire, seeing it will start on fire before lava touches it. So yes, if you had fire insurance you should be covered. If not, the insurance company should be out of business.



Add a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

*