October 11, 2011
- Some survivors of Hurricane Irene may find insurance settlements won’t cover all disaster-related losses. Help from the Federal Emergency Management Agency and the Small Business Administration may speed recovery and fill in gaps in insurance coverage.
- Anyone with disaster-related losses should register with FEMA at 800-621-FEMA (3362) – even if they have insurance.
- Help from FEMA may include temporary housing beyond what is covered by insurance for additional living expenses or in cases when an insurance claim is delayed or denied.
- Those with disaster-related losses who have registered with FEMA should complete and return the SBA loan application while awaiting an insurance settlement. Money for recovery may be available if an insurance claim is delayed or denied. If the claim is paid, that money can be used to pay off the SBA loan.
- For more information, visit www.sba.gov/services/disasterassistance, or call the SBA’s Customer Service Center at 800-659-2955 (TTY: 800-877-8339).
Settling homeowner’s insurance disputes
- Disaster survivors whose homeowner’s insurance claims have been denied – or who have been offered an insurance settlement they consider inadequate – can use the North Carolina Department of Insurance’s Disaster Mediation program.
- Those with disaster-related insurance claims must meet all of the following criteria to be eligible for mediation:
- The insurance company has denied all or part of the claim;
- The dispute must be over the amount of the loss, or the insurance company’s findings on the cause of the loss;
- The amount of the dispute is at least $1,500.
- Homeowners must apply for mediation within 60 days of a claim being denied.
- Consumers can get more information on the North Carolina Department of Insurance website at www.ncdoi.com and at the American Arbitration Association website at www.adr.org/northcarolinadisaster.
- Insurance adjusters evaluating flood damage work for private insurance companies or independent adjuster companies, not FEMA.
- Flood insurance policy holders not satisfied with the damage estimate provided by an insurance adjuster have an appeal process outlined in the Flood Insurance Claims Handbook (publication F-687) that is normally provided to a policy holder when the policy is issued, renewed or when a claim is filed.
- The handbook detailing the appeal process can be downloaded for free at http://www.floodsmart.gov/toolkits/flood/downloads/NFIP-FloodInsuranceClaimsHandbook.pdf.
July 16, 2012 - 18:46
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