FEMA Flood Extension Gives Testament to the Complexity of Proof of Loss Filing
Since October of 2013 our office has been cranking out claim packages for all of our clients so they fully comply with the terms and conditions of their flood policies. One of those tasks is the filing of the Proof of Loss, which to the layman can be as complex as building a house with no construction experience.
For a third time, FEMA has extended the deadline for filing Superstorm Sandy NFIP flood policy claims, 6 months to October 29, 2014. This is allowing policyholders who have supplemental claims or who have had repairs delayed due to code issues or other situations to gather the proper documentation.
For those not in the claim adjusting business, pulling together a properly prepared proof of loss can be a complicated matter, especially given FEMA’s strict standards. It requires paid receipts and invoices for completed repairs, itemized room by room costs, contractor estimates, photos of damage and repairs and any other supporting documentation. Add to that the bureaucratic delays, claim denials, miscommunications, lost files and I can go on and on and you can understand why some have said the easy part was simply surviving the storm, and the hardest part recovering from their respective insurance companies. And remember, the POL is a sworn and signed statement. So you better get it right. I can tell you that many of our clients certainly appreciate the extension as do we.
The standard time to file a flood claim with the insurance company is 60 days after the date of the loss. Due to the devastation of Superstorm Sandy and complexity of the losses, FEMA originally extended the deadline to 1 year. Then once the 1 year deadline approached and FEMA saw the industry was still struggling to get all the information together they extended it for another 6 months. To some extent, this probably also had to do with large backlog of claims being processed by NFIP. Yesterday, FEMA issued a memorandum extending the deadline stating the difficulties policyholders have had pulling all the documentation together to fully support the claim.
Properly filing and managing claims after events like Superstorm Sandy gives testament to the value Public adjusters bring to the claims process. Given the trauma and confusion people go through in the aftermath of a hurricane or tornados, we hope the local government will remember this the next time Florida gets hit. It's not about the date, it's about trying to get the claims properly prepared in order to avoid delays and start the process of repair and healing.
If you have questions regarding any property insurance claim related issues please call 800.321.4488 or contact us to submit a question to one of our public adjuster or insurance claim experts.