National Flood Program

Hurricane and Tropical Storm Eta has left a flood claims hangover from Florida throughout the Carolinas. Since the National Flood Insurance program administrators appear to be stingy and failing to watch out for their fellow Americans by not granting flood proof of loss extensions, policyholders need to get started properly filing their claims right away.
Continue Reading Storm Eta Leaves a Flood Claim Hangover and Do Not Forget Lake Charles — Tune In For Friday at 2 PM

The National Flood Insurance Program (“NFIP”) permits an insured to file a supplemental Proof of Loss that adds or changes an earlier submitted version. To be valid, the supplemental Proof of Loss must be filed within 60 days of the loss. No exception allows the insured to submit a supplemental Proof of Loss after the 60 days, even if the insured later determines that the flood damage it sustained exceeds the amount stated in the original Proof of Loss.
Continue Reading Can an Insured Submit a Supplemental Flood Proof of Loss If the Insurer Has Already Paid the Initial Proof of Loss?

In Northgate Country Club Management, LLC v. Philadelphia Indemnity Insurance Company,1 the Honorable Sim Lake, Senior Judge for the United States District Court for the Southern District of Texas, reaffirmed this past week the critical rule that in a FEMA flood case, the requirement for a policyholder to file a proof of loss cannot be waived even by a carrier that participates in a claim. With the hurricane and tropical season upon us along the Gulf Coast, a reminder of this mandatory rule is relevant.
Continue Reading Can the Proof of Loss Requirement Be Waived in a Flood Case?

A recent Southern District of Florida decision addressed this issue.1

A property in Islamorada, Florida, which was owned by the estate of Raymond K. Hampson, was damaged by Hurricane Irma in September 2017. The personal representative for the estate, Timothy R. Hampson (“Hampson”) made a claim for damages under the standard flood insurance policy (“SFIP”) covering the property. When Hampson sued Wright National Flood Insurance Company, a Write Your Own (“WYO”) carrier, for breach of the insurance contract, Hampson also sought an award of attorney’s fees, costs and case expenses under the Equal Justice to Access Act (the “EAJA”), 28 U.S.C. § 2412.
Continue Reading Recovery of Attorney’s Fees in Federal Flood Cases Under the Equal Access to Justice Act?

The time is now to button up those flood claims. The deadline for submission of the sworn statement of a Hurricane Michael flood loss, known as the Proof of Loss (‘POL”), is 365 days from the date of loss,1 which is October 10, 2019, for those in the Panhandle of Florida. The POL is the policyholder’s sworn statement for the amount of insurance proceeds requested under the Standard Flood Insurance Policy (“SFIP”).
Continue Reading Hurricane Michael NFIP Proof of Loss Deadline Approaches

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

Hurricane Michael has left a familiar mark on the Florida Panhandle. Much like Hurricanes Katrina and Ike, Hurricane Michael brought devasting winds followed by wind and flooding and more wind. Battered homes and businesses are assessed in the aftermath in an attempt to determine the extent and cause of damage resulting from the multiple perils associated with a hurricane. This has proven to be no easy task after a major hurricane.
Continue Reading Substantial Damage, Substantial Structural Damage, Wind Damage, Flood Damage…. Damage Anyway!

This year I’ve been privileged with the opportunity to attend the 2019 National Flood Conference in Washington D.C. The National Flood Conference is a three-day annual event for flood insurance industry professionals, and various other professionals whose industries overlap in some way with flood insurance (think mortgage lenders, insurance agents, mold remediators, attorneys, etc.). Over the course of the next few days I will provide day-by-day recaps of my experience at the National Flood Conference with my thoughts, opinions, and interesting things I’ve learned.
Continue Reading National Flood Conference – An Insider’s Perspective of Day 1

It’s been almost seven years since Superstorm Sandy hit New Jersey and Sandy cases are still wending through New Jersey Courts. A recent Third Circuit Court of Appeals decision discusses the importance of a properly completed proof of loss when submitting a flood claim under a Standard Flood Insurance Policy (SFIP).1
Continue Reading Flood Proof of Loss Filled Correctly? Do not lose benefits by failing to list amount claimed