Tallahassee, Fla. – The Florida Office of Insurance Regulation is sharing guidance issued by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) addressing the claims process for its National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) policyholders affected by Hurricane Irma. Five bulletins were issued on September 12th to applicable insurance companies and insurance adjusters with information on a variety of subjects.
A summary of the applicable information and links to each bulletin are provided below:
1. Proof of Loss (POL) Waiver/Extension (Applicable to Flood Insurance Policies) – The POL is waived for the initial claim payment. However, if the policyholder disputes the payment or submits a request for additional payment, they must file a POL with supporting documentation by one year from the date of loss.
2. Advance Payments (Applicable to Standard Flood Insurance Policies) – The policyholder can request an advance payment of up to $5,000 for covered flood damages prior to the adjuster’s inspection. The policyholder may also request up to $20,000 prior to the adjuster’s inspection if they provide photographs along with receipts or canceled checks verifying covered out-of-pocket expenses or their contractor’s estimate of covered damages. After the adjuster’s inspection, the policyholder may request a larger advance payment of up to 50% of their contractor’s estimate of covered repairs.
3. Enhanced Claim-Handling for Prior Loss and Contents Claims (Applicable to the Standard Flood Insurance Policy Dwelling Form Only) – The adjuster may group personal property by category. Also, where there is evidence of completed repairs to damage from prior flood losses, the NFIP is not requiring the adjuster to obtain the prior loss claim file before adjusting the claim.
4. Extension of the Grace Period for Payment of NFIP Premiums – The 30-day grace period for premium receipt is changed to 120 days for policies expiring within the specified date range. Please review the bulletin for further details.
5. Enhanced Claim-Handling Process for Building Losses Insured (Applicable to the Standard Flood Insurance Policy Dwelling Form & Group Flood Insurance Policies)– The adjuster may use a building valuation loss adjustment to support a large advance payment or if the policy limit is exceeded, conclude the claim in a timely manner.