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Hawaii Fires: Rebuilding Maui to take time as insurance claims process

"Right now, they're really in the middle of assessing the damages, and it's going to take some time."

MAUI COUNTY, Hawaii — Part of rebuilding Maui includes sorting out insurance claims, and with at least 2,700 buildings reporting damage and destruction, owners and insurance agents are working through a large volume of claims.

"Right now, they're really in the middle of assessing the damages, and it's going to take some time," said Janet Ruiz, director of strategic communication with the Insurance Information Institute.

Experts said the Hawaii insurance market is very stable. They have many familiar insurance companies, but each state has their own regulations and department of emergency services.

"Insurance is available for people, and we do encourage people to put their claims in right away. Because oftentimes, the first thing they need is additional living expenses if they need to stay in a hotel while they're evacuated or if they need to find a temporary living while they make repairs to their home, or maybe even have to rebuild...," said Ruiz.

There are a lot of takeaways for Californians as well.

"In California, we've seen a lot of this due to the number of wildfires we've had. So I think people here can really relate and can offer useful help on those type of issues," said Ruiz.

Ruiz also said the insurance industry is prepared to handle this kind of large emergency. There are catastrophe teams specializing in taking phone calls and working with the people who have losses. It includes helping people get additional living expenses paid right away and helping them get re-housed and settled into a new place while their home is repaired.

"This is what we do. We're here to help, and our hearts go out to the folks in Maui for sure who have had losses," said Ruiz.

Ruiz added that people who need to submit a claim should try to get the process started by getting their claim in quickly. 

"If you know you may have damages or additional living expenses, we always recommend that you start there and give it in quickly and get the process started," said Ruiz.


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