Puerto Rico Senate to investigate insurers’ response after Hurricane Maria
SAN JUAN – The Puerto Rico Senate passed Monday a resolution to investigate the ability of insurance companies to pay claims from residents and businesses affected by Hurricane Maria on the island.
Senate Resolution 490, authored by Sen. Zoé Laboy, highlights in its statement of reasons that the island has 142 foreign insurers, of which 21 are domestic and 54 others are surplus lines insurers that cover risks licensed companies aren’t able or willing to insure. It is estimated that the combined hurricane-related claims amount to $12 billion.
“This legislative body understands it is imperative to thoroughly monitor insurers’ ability to meet [the needs of] their policyholders and the direct consequences such disbursements will have, both in the immediate and long terms,” unanimously approved measure reads.
The passage of the resolution comes about after Insurance Commissioner Javier Rivera issued more than 2,500 orders related to violations by various insurers on the island for breach of the payment term established in the insurance code.
The number of structures destroyed in Puerto Rico from the impact of the hurricanes is estimated at 25,000 to 100,000, according to several studies. “While the figures vary depending on the study, in terms of totally destroyed structures, all agree that the number of homes with partial damage is close to 250,000,” the resolution adds.
Elections Commission to be investigated
The Senate also passed a measure introduced by its president, Sen. Thomas Rivera Schatz, who ordered an investigation of the operations of the State Elections Commission (CEE by its Spanish initials).
“The Senate of Puerto Rico recognizes that the right to vote is sacred and there is a need to have an organization that is responsible for the purity of the electoral procedures. However, today more than ever, it is imperative for the government–as in its agencies–to ensure the adequate, appropriate and efficient use of its resources,” reads the measure, which also was approved without opposition.
In recent days, Rivera Schatz sent a letter to Gov. Ricardo Rosselló requesting an investigation of the work of Roberto Benítez, director of the agency’s information and electronic processing office, and the son of the former senator and electoral commissioner of the New Progressive Party (NPP), Norma Burgos.
The Senate recessed until Wednesday, Feb. 7 at 1 p.m.