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As we have noted in previous posts, flood insurance policyholders have deadlines they must comply with to ensure full and fair payments from their insurance companies. These deadlines are critical — failure to meet them can result in denial of claims.

One of the most critical deadlines is the deadline for the insured to provide a “Proof of Loss” to the insurance company.  The Proof of Loss is a sworn statement of the insured stating the amount of loss, supported by documents showing the extent of that loss.  The insurance company’s adjuster may provide forms for the insured’s use. However, that adjuster is under no duty to do so and the Proof of Loss must be submitted within the deadline, regardless of what is provided by the insurance company.

The National Flood Insurance Program usually requires policyholders to submit a fully documented, signed and sworn proof-of-loss claim within 60 days of the loss. That deadline was extended once before.

Yesterday, FEMA provided another 60 day extension.  FEMA states that ” With this extension, a National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) policyholder will have a total of 180 days following the date of loss to provide the completed, signed, and sworn-to proof of loss to the insurer. . . . This waiver does not alter any other terms or conditions of the NFIP.”

Louisiana flood victims now have 180 days from the date of loss to file a flood insurance claim for their losses caused by the Great Flood of 2016. That is good — but probably still not enough time.

Many insureds STILL have not received the first estimation from their insurance company.  Many flood adjusters have left Louisiana to deal with losses caused by Hurricane Matthew so the delays continue.  Many insureds are at a loss about why the adjustment is so low — sometimes a fraction of the actual replacement cost of the damaged property.

Regardless of the reason for the low evaluation, it is the insurance company’s evaluation — not necessarily the correct evaluation.  Insureds must be given time to not only receive — but evaluate and double-check the insurance company’s evaluation by conducting an independent adjustment.

So another 60 days is good.  But it’s not enough and FEMA must do more.  These deadlines do not benefit the insured and can only harm the insured if the deadline is missed.  FEMA should give Louisiana flood victims certainty instead of piecemeal extensions days before an expiration.  FEMA should grant a a year-long extension — now — of the POL deadline.  Anything else simply continues uncertainty and harms our people who are still trying to survive this historic calamity.

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