Hawaii lava damage will be covered, says Insurance Commissioner

Hawaii lava damage - Volcano lava flowing

Destroyed homes will be covered by standard homeowners policies, according to Gordon Ito.

The Hawaii lava damage caused by Kilauea’s eruption will be covered by homeowners insurance policies, said Hawaiian Insurance Commissioner, Gordon Ito. Ito made it clear that homes damaged or destroyed by the lava flow into a Big Island neighborhood will be covered. This should come as a relief to homeowners previously uncertain as to their coverage, as reported by Live Insurance News.

Ito has been Hawaii’s insurance commissioner since 2010 and is NAIC Western Zone chair.

Ito is well aware of the type of Hawaii lava damage coverage homeowners can expect to have on their policies. He has been insurance commissioner in the state for eight years. Moreover, he is the National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC) Western zone chair.

He said his department does not yet have an estimate on the insured losses caused by Kilauea. However, he has estimated that around 25 single family dwellings and other structures have been destroyed.

Ito said that the Hawaii lava damage has also extended to structures beyond residences.

“We’re talking about 35 structures,” Ito said while discussing the non-residential buildings affected by the lava flow.

That said, it’s important to point out that the high risk area continues to contain nearly 1,000 homes, according to CoreLogic risk catastrophe risk modeling firm data as reported by Insurance Journal.

Kilauea is the most active among the Hawaiian volcanoes. It originally erupted last May 3, 2018, following a number of earthquakes and other warning signs. It had since sent lava flows down over the volcano side of the Big Island. This forced about 2,000 residents to have to evacuate their neighborhoods. The volcano has been steadily active since 1983 and in 1990 it destroyed the town of Kalapana.

Hawaii lava damage - Volcano lava flowingThe United States Geological Survey recently cautioned that there continues to be a risk from Kilauea. “There’s still magma moving around underground,” said Ito, reiterating the fact that the Hawaii lava damage may not be finished. He also pointed out that his office has not received any complaints against homeowners insurance companies from policyholders.

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