MADISON, Wis. -- Wisconsin residents who dispute their flood insurance settlement can appeal, said federal emergency management officials.
A four-step process exists for policy holders to appeal decisions regarding a claim through the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) administered by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA).
"The process helps resolve claim issues, but can't give added coverage or claim limits beyond those in their NFIP policies," said Dolph Diemont, FEMA federal coordinating officer for Wisconsin disaster recovery.
If policy holders have questions regarding their coverage, filing procedures or damage estimates, they should first contact their adjuster, who should be most knowledgeable about their claim.
Policy holders who aren't satisfied with the adjuster's answers should contact the adjuster's supervisor. The adjuster should provide this contact information.
If the adjuster's supervisor can't resolve the issue, policy holders should contact the insurance company's claim representative. The insurance agent or another company representative should provide assistance.
After following the first three steps, policy holders who still have a problem should contact FEMA in writing at this address:
FEMA-Mitigation Division-Room 433
Risk Insurance Branch
Attn: Director of Claims
500 C Street, S.W.
Washington D.C. 20472
This letter should be written by the policy holder or a legal representative, such as a family member handling a claim for an elderly relative. The legal representative should describe his or her relationship to the policy holder. A legal representative may be asked to provide written authorization from the policy holder or other legal documents verifying the relationship.
The letter should include these six items:
- The policy number, as shown on the NFIP policy's declarations page.
- The policy holder's name, as shown on the declarations page.
- The property address, as shown on the declarations page. This is NOT the person's mailing address if it is different from the property address.
- How the policy holder can be contacted.
- Specific details of the policy holder's concern.
- The dates and details of discussions about the claim with insurance company representatives.
The appeal letter to FEMA also should include documentation (copies, not original documents) of everything that supports the appeal. Include such things as a detailed list of damaged property and the value of individual items; supporting photographs; and a contractor's detailed estimate of repair costs. Comparing contractor and adjuster estimates in detail may help FEMA resolve differences.
Under the NFIP, federally-backed flood insurance is available to homeowners, renters and business owners in communities that adopt and enforce floodplain management ordinances to reduce future flood losses by regulating new construction in high-flood-risk areas.
FEMA coordinates the federal government's role in preparing for, preventing, mitigating the effects of, responding to, and recovering from all domestic disasters, whether natural or man-made, including acts of terror.