The Tampa Bay Times ran an excellent story, Hurricane Michael Destroyed Their Homes Then The Insurance Heartache Began, which tells a sad but familiar theme about insurance company denials and delayed payments following hurricane losses. I was quoted in the piece:

Chip Merlin, a Tampa insurance lawyer, said the same conflict happened in the last 15 years after Hurricane Katrina and Hurricane Ike. He said companies try to avoid making payment even when a slab is all that’s left of a property, as is the case in much of Mexico Beach.

‘Typically you have the strongest wind speeds come first, and then the storm surge follows it,’ Merlin said. Both cause damage. But residents and their attorneys, he said, may need to pay meteorologists and engineers to prove that flood and wind are to blame, and how much.
Continue Reading Wind Versus Water Causing Insurance Payment Delays? The Sad Song Remains The Same For Michael Victims as In Other Storms

If you’ve read my recap from Day 1 of the National Flood Conference, you’ll know that there was a lot to discuss from Day 1. Days 2 & 3 were a bit less eventful, and largely more geared towards flood insurance agents and lenders. As with Day 1, there were often several courses running concurrently, so the below is my recap of those that I attended.
Continue Reading National Flood Conference – An Insider’s Perspective, Days 2 & 3

Photo by Win McNamee

Flood insurance claims governed by the National Flood Insurance Program are different. The requirements to get paid are strict and must be complied with. Many inexperienced attorneys and public adjusters prepare these claims improperly and the result is that policyholders do not get paid or paid as much as they otherwise deserve. Federal proofs of loss have to be completed fully, properly, and on time.
Continue Reading Partial Flood Proofs of Loss Requesting Only Items In Dispute Are Losers In Flood Claims

In July, 2016, what has been called a 200-to-500 year thunderstorm dropped between five and seven inches of rain in a two-hour period in Princeton, New Jersey. The heavy rain fall resulted in water pooling at the bottom of a stairwell below street level, next to a salon’s glass door entrance.
Continue Reading Even If You Don’t Live in a Flood Prone Area, You May Want a Flood Risk Policy in Place

I recently wrote about the short-term extension that halted the potential expiration of the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) set for November 30, 2018. Following that post, the NFIP was extended by Congress until December 21, 2018, and a lapse was averted.
Continue Reading NFIP Authorization Extended Until May 31, 2019, But Flood Program Could Be Disrupted By Government Shutdown

After every major flood event, I am contacted by at least one business owner and/or condominium owner who suffered flood damage, filed their claim with their NFIP1 Flood Insurance Company (Allstate, Hartford, Wright Flood, Farmers, FEMA, etc.), and was then told by either the flood insurance company or adjuster that the flood insurance policy did not cover all of the buildings or structures on the property. The business owners are enraged because they were under the impression that all buildings on the property were covered.
Continue Reading Flood Insurance for Commercial Properties

When a National Flood Insurance Program (“NFIP”) insured is not satisfied with the payment for flood-related losses, the NFIP insured is directed to three options:1

  1. The NFIP insured may file an appeal with the Federal Emergency Management Agency (“FEMA”) within 60 days of the NFIP insurer’s written denial or partial denial of the requested claim amount.2
  2. The NFIP insured can invoke the Appraisal Provision of her policy. NOTE: The NFIP insured may not file option one above, the appeal with FEMA, if the Appraisal Provision is invoked.
  3. The NFIP insured may file a lawsuit within one year of the date of the written denial of all or part of the NFIP insured’s claim. NOTE: The filing of a lawsuit precludes option one, the appeal, and option two, the appraisal process, as those are considered pre-litigation administrative remedies.
    Continue Reading NFIP’S Horseshoe Option