Federal Code and Regulations typically require that Proofs of Loss for National Flood Insurance claims be filed within 60 days following the loss. They have to be done completely and on time. The only exception is a written waiver from the Administrator of the National Flood Insurance Program.
The National Association of Public Insurance Adjusters (NAPIA) has some of the finest minds in the world regarding claims adjustment under property insurance policies. Our law firm had the opportunity to lead a day long insurance seminar for the Massachusetts Association of Public Insurance Adjusters and NAPIA members last Friday in Boston. The level of discussion and debate over cutting edge claims handling issues made it one of the finest property insurance seminars I have ever attended.
After receiving a Bestwire News Report that indicated a Homeland Security Inspector concluded that "Write Your Own" Insurance Companies did not overpay flood claims following Hurricane Katrina, I waded through the 48 page report to find out why the Inspector came to that conclusion. As I have said in earlier blog posts, flood adjusters paid and paid and paid some more. They gave every benefit of the doubt to policyholders. In some "slab" cases, they simply reviewed satellite photographs and then paid policy limits. They never went to the loss site.
If another hurricane the size of Katrina or stronger strikes a metropolitan area this summer or fall, I am certain that we will have a repeat of the litigation and problems associated with Katrina. On May 8, the United States Senate voted against increasing the role of the National Flood Insurance Program to include coverage for "wind" peril. (See Miami Herald, Chicago Tribune, Biloxi Sun Herald) The Senators supporting the measure were from the coastal states most effected by hurricanes. These southern Senators and their constituency are increasingly facing the problem that private property insurance carriers will not sell a policy that covers the perils posed by a hurricane.