As the clock ticks down, I’ve been receiving a surge of calls and emails from concerned public adjusters regarding the impending deadline for submitting National Flood Proofs of Loss. FEMA extended the deadline for 365 days from the date of Hurricane Ian. It’s crucial not to miss the deadline to deliver, not just mail, the full and correct proof of loss is this week. You only have a couple of days to get this correct.
The Importance of Double-Checking Your Work
I cannot stress enough the importance of meticulously reviewing your submissions. A single oversight or error could jeopardize your client’s claim, leading to denials merely because a timely proof of loss was not completed and delivered properly. Therefore, it’s imperative to check and then re-check to ensure that you have accurately and comprehensively filed the proof of loss.
Don’t Miss the Deadline
Remember, the extended deadline may have been an invitation to procrastinate or assume you have properly completed the proofs of loss; it’s an opportunity to refine your work and ensure its accuracy. Missing this deadline could have severe repercussions for your clients and could reflect poorly on your professional reputation. The three biggest mistakes are not using the approved form, assuming any form is acceptable, not delivering the correct form on time to the right place, and not including all the backup for the amounts claimed with the proof of loss.
So, as we approach this crucial deadline, I urge you to revisit your files, double-check your documentation, and make certain that everything is in order. Your clients are relying on you to safeguard their interests. This is one area where there is no room for error.
Here is a checklist I suggest is a minimum to be followed:
- Did you use the authorized form? Many public adjusters and policyholders are using their own forms rather than the one and only authorized form from FEMA. Use only the current FEMA form.
- Did you enclose with the proof of loss all the documentation? It must be submitted with the form and not separately. A federal flood proof of loss is the authorized form.
- Did you send it to the right place? Sending it to the field adjuster with the independent catastrophe claims organization is not the right place. The policy lists the Write Your Own Carrier and the address where it must be sent. A copy of that, with all the documentation, should also be sent to the field adjuster. Send it overnight with a request for proof of delivery – certified mail can take forever, get lost, and not delivered on time. Overnight United States mail to both the insurer and the field adjuster, with both getting all the documentation, is much better.
- Is the documentation complete? Estimates, photos of damage, videos of damage, lists of the contents at RCV and ACV, invoices for real property damage repaired and contents replaced, and any other items you want to have as part of your proof of damage, and amounts owed should be included. But cases have been lost because there was not an estimate of damage and supporting documentation sent with the proof of loss form.
- Did you complete the proof of loss in its entirety? You cannot put, “to be determined.” Many public adjusters and policyholders incorrectly submit it this way as a practice. This can lose your flood case as well. Put dollar figures for each space on the form.
- Is it signed by the policyholder? It must be signed and not left blank. I have watched many public adjusters look at their file after telling me a proof was filed to find that the proof was not signed and that they had mailed everything to the claims adjuster early, hoping to get the case resolved. They later find that they never went back and formally filed a proof with it signed and with all the backup documentation.
Here’s one more thing to add to your checklist: Sign up for our upcoming Hurricane Ian Seminars for Public Adjusters! Topics will include statutory deadlines and roof damage. Earn 2 CE credits and meet with Merlin Law Group attorneys for claims questions and consultation. Click here to register: https://page.merlinlawgroup.com/hurricane-ian-seminars. Details below:
Fort Myers | Thursday 9/28
Hilton Garden Inn Ft. Myers Airport/FGCU
16410 Corporate Commerce Way
Fort Myers, FL 33913
Miami | Monday 10/2
Hilton Aventura Miami
2885 NE 191st St.
Aventura, FL 33180
Jacksonville | Wednesday 10/4
World Golf Village Renaissance St. Augustine
500 South Legacy Trail
St. Augustine, FL 32092
Tampa | Thursday 10/5
The Westin Tampa Waterside
725 S Harbour Island Blvd
Tampa, FL 33602
Evening Thought About National Flood Proofs of Loss
Trust, but verify.