Hurricane Sandy Flood Insurance Deadlines Are Quickly Approaching
In response to Hurricane Sandy, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) granted a conditional and partial waiver of certain requirements under National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) flood policies on November 9, 2012. To allow enough time for insureds to evaluate their losses and have the opportunity to seek additional payments, FEMA extended the amount of time within which an insured must submit a proof of loss (as required by the policy) from the standard 60 days to one year from the date of the loss (i.e. October 28, 2013 for those in New Jersey and New York).
For homeowners, condominium associations and businesses still dealing with underpayment or partial denial of coverage by their flood insurance companies, that deadline is quickly approaching. The repercussions of failing to file a proof of loss by this deadline cannot be overstated. Missing this deadline could result in property owners being barred from collecting additional money. Further, even if the insured is continuing to work with the insurance company by submitting supplements, working with a public adjuster, appealing the initial denial, and/or going to appraisal, the deadline does not change. A proof of loss must be timely filed. Following Hurricanes Katrina, Ike and Ivan, many valid flood insurance cases were dismissed for missing the proof of loss deadline.
As attorneys representing flood insurance policy holders, we make it a priority when representing flood insurance claimants to prepare the proof of loss with all supporting documentation, and submit it to the insurance companies well in advance of the deadline.
While the deadline may appear to be distant, the preparation of the proof of loss and supporting documents, which may include expert reports, engineering reports, receipts, estimates and other documents, takes time to complete. Further, for condominium associations where multiple people have to make decisions and given the fact that meetings may only be monthly or quarterly, time is of the essence. More than eight months have passed since Sandy and less than four months remain to file a proof of loss. If you have still not resolved your flood insurance claim, it may be time to speak with a professional.