Supplemental Flood Insurance Claims: Not an Extension of the Proof of Loss Deadline
There is a tremendous misunderstanding when it comes to flood insurance supplements and the relevant Proof of Loss deadline (October 28, 2013) as it relates to Hurricane Sandy. In nearly every flood insurance consultation I have provided, I have had to explain the difference between submitting supplements to the insurance adjuster and submitting a properly completed Proof of Loss with supporting documentation. Understanding the difference between supplements and a Proof of Loss (and the impact of each ) is extremely important to policy holders — particularly those who are disputing the amount of reimbursement they have received from their flood insurance company.
According to FEMA’s May 2013 WYO Bulletin W-13027a, when a policyholder disputes the insurance adjuster’s payment recommendation and estimate, the policy holder should submit a written request for a supplemental claim ALONG WITH a completed, signed, and sworn-to Proof of Loss attaching all documentation to fully support the supplemental claim. Such documentation can include: paid receipts or invoices for completed repairs; itemized (room by room) contractor’s estimate; photographs of damage or of repairs completed or in progress; and other relevant documents. If related to disputed foundation damage, or determination of basement or post-FIRM elevated building as defined in the Standard Flood Insurance Policy (SFIP), a written report is required from a licensed professional engineer or licensed surveyor (if required by the State).
Bulletin W-13027a goes on to state that the prior bulletin that extended the Proof of Loss deadline to one year did not offer a blanket waiver of the Proof of Loss requirement; and when a Proof of Loss is submitted by the policyholder, all provisions of the SFIP will apply, including timeliness and the requisite supporting documentation.
What has created confusion is that policy holders are working with insurance adjusters by submitting supplements, but are unaware that the Proof of Loss deadline is quickly approaching. I regularly explain to policy holders that even though they are continuing to submit supplements and work with the insurance adjuster, if the October 28, 2013 deadline passes and a properly completed Proof of Loss with supporting documentation has not been submitted, the policy holder may be precluded from receiving any additional recovery — even if a lawsuit is filed.
About the Author: Christopher W. Gerold is an attorney in Wolff & Samson’s Disaster Recovery Claims Group. Chris represents homeowners and businesses with their Sandy related insurance claims with a special focus on flood insurance. For more information on flood insurance and ways Wolff & Samson can help you with your flood insurance claim, please contact Chris at (973) 530-2061.