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”).
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When I wrote my first blog on this site in 2009, I discussed proofs of loss at length. Since Hurricane Michael, these blogs have received a lot of traffic and discussion from people trying to navigate their way through the claims process. An issue that keeps coming up is whether a policyholder must comply with a proof of loss request after the insurer has admitted coverage and made payment.
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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.
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Last month the Assistant Administrator for Insurance, Paul Huang, extended the deadline for submitting a Proof of Loss for flood insurance claims. The Standard Flood Insurance Policy (SFIP) provides that a proof of loss must be submitted within 60 days of the loss. However, FEMA Bulletin W-18026 waived the 60-day proof of loss deadline, extending the deadline to submit a proof of loss to 365 days (one year) from the date of loss:
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If your home or business was damaged by flood waters from Hurricane Irma and you had flood insurance through the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) the deadline to submit a proof of loss is quickly approaching. The Standard Flood Insurance Policy (SFIP) provides that a proof of loss must be submitted within 60 days of the loss. However, FEMA Bulletin W-17040 waived the 60-day proof of loss deadline, extending the deadline to submit a proof of loss to 365 days (one year) from the date of loss.
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One certain way FEMA and National Flood Administrators get out of paying otherwise valid flood insurance claims is to require strict and timely requirements. Citing an internally generated and fraudulent 99% closure statistic, the National Flood Program denied a request to extend the timeline for filing Proofs of Loss for Hurricane Harvey, Irma, and Maria victims.
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As advocates for victims whose lives have been turned upside down as a result of the devastating flooding caused by Hurricane Harvey, Hurricane Irma, and Hurricane Maria, we know that one year may not be enough time for flood victims to obtain the estimates and documents necessary to submit their required proof of loss form to FEMA or their flood insurance company.
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