When you have a claim for property damage under your homeowners insurance, you should not be penalized by your carrier. You should not be slapped with an increase in premium or slammed with a non-renewal notice because you had a claim and had to actually use your insurance. Professor Jay Feinman, the author of Delay, Deny, Defend, has prepared a new report to help state lawmakers ban the practice known as “Use It and Lose It” and calls-out this harmful practice. This report is part of a series that my colleague Rob Trautman discussed in, Rutgers Law School and United Policyholders Launch Essential Protections for Policyholders Project.
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Transparency is what FEMA officials publicly proclaim they desire regarding its Superstorm Sandy claims processes. They need to do a better job of getting that message out to their attorneys as evidenced in the post, WYO’s Want Release From Criminal Liability and WYO Attorneys Warned of Sanctions. They need to get that message out to their WYO partners as evidenced by a WYO company invoking the Fifth Amendment as discussed in Insurance Executive Pleads Fifth Over Altered Reports During Superstorm Sandy Hearing. They need to get the message out to the vendors who make critical opinions about loss and damage as evidenced in Authorities Raid New York Engineering Over Superstorm Sandy Fraud. Finally, those officials need to emphasize the necessity for honesty and transparency by those working in Washington as evidenced by a lawsuit filed yesterday against FEMA by United Policyholders.


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Often without being aware, many policyholders could be paying more for their homeowners insurance than their neighbors, even if both properties maintain identical coverage with the same insurance carrier. How could this be true, you might ask? A recent study reports that homeowners with poor credit typically pay 91% more for homeowners’ insurance than people with excellent credit.1 Moreover, many consumers aren’t even aware their credit history is being used this way in most states. According to a 2007 survey conducted by consumer advocacy organization Consumer Federation of America, just 57% of people surveyed were aware their credit score could affect what they pay for home insurance.2


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Superstorm Sandy raises a bunch of questions for many policyholders wondering if they are receiving the insurance benefits they are owed and how to go assert their rights to those benefits. I was asked by United Policyholders Executive Director Amy Bach to speak and answer those questions at a Roadmap to Recovery Workshop next Monday in Bay Head, New Jersey.


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Last week’s post featured the new smart phone app that helps insureds quickly capture information needed to document their personal property before a loss. This week, I have written about the organization that created the app — The National Association of Insurance Commissioners — and their recent connection with United Policyholders.


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