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Proof-of-loss deadline extended for 'Meteorological Event Sandy' 2

The federal shutdown may have motivated the Federal Emergency Management Agency to extend the deadline for Superstorm Sandy victims to file an important insurance form. Pressure from Congress may have helped, too: Realizing that many of their constituents may not have the information needed for the form and that some may not even know about either the form or the deadline, 22 senators and representatives signed a letter to FEMA asking for an extension.

And so it was that Oct. 1, 2013, the agency issued a notice that insureds would have an additional six months to file the proof-of-loss form. They now have until the end of April to get it all together.

A proof-of-loss form is an inventory of items damaged or lost as a result of the "covered event," in this case Meteorological Event Sandy (FEMA's term), that the policyholder is including in his or her claim. The form must be signed and sworn to, but that's the easy part. The policyholder must also submit supporting documentation for each item.

The one-year anniversary would have been tough for many policyholders, because they are still waiting for construction crews to begin working on their homes. They wouldn't have the paperwork yet, but they would still be denied coverage.

Policyholders should know, too, that the proof-of-loss form completed by an insurance adjuster may not be enough. If a policyholder is contesting a benefit award as too low, or if additional charges have come up since the claim was filed, he or she may have to complete another form.

It may be wise for policyholders in that position to consult with an attorney.

Source: Insurance Journal, "New York to Compensate Storm Victims for NFIP’s ‘Earth Movement’ Exclusion," David B. Caruso, Sept. 30, 2013FEMA, "Memorandum re Further Extension of the Standard Flood Insurance Policy's Proof of Loss Time Requirement Included in the November 9, 2012, Bulletin W-12092a," David L. Miller, Oct. 1, 2013

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