“The fire was more severe than I had been advised,” said Franchini, offering his support to those who are dealing with questions with coverage and claims issues. “We have a ruling which allows us to declare an insurance disaster,” Franchini reported. This ruling gives parameters to help mitigate coverage issues after a major disaster.
“We’ve had one complaint from a gentleman who didn’t renew his insurance policy six months ago and wanted the insurance company to rewrite his policy. That type of concern is out of my control,” said Franchini. Discussing rebuilding issues as well as claim filing, citizens voiced concerns.
With insurance agents delivering mixed messages to residents, Franchini said he would be available for anyone to contact him with any insurance question. “My department is willing to get companies to begin a dialog.”
“We’d rather pay more and know exactly what we’re getting,” said Kathryn Minter, Lincoln County commissioner, who stated residents needed to read their policies and understand the terminology, calling it “enlightened self-interest.”
Insurance agent Bart Garrison wanted to inform citizens that insurance companies he works with are still underwriting new policies. “Contrary to some reports, our office has not seen mainline insurance companies refusing to allow new business due to the fire. In fact, we have seen a new national company recently start writing business for our area. We have also not had any companies ‘jack up premiums for claim filers.’ Rates must be filed with the State Department of Insurance and justification made before an insurance company can make changes to their rates. If someone is getting a rate increase right now, it would have been filed before the fire disaster took place; not because of the fire,” says Garrison.
For information, questions and concerns, contact John G. Franchini, Superintendent of Insurance for the Public Regulation Commission at: 505-827-4299, mail at: P.O. Box 1269, Santa Fe, N.M. 87504, or email at: John.Franchini@state.nm.us.