Proof of Loss Update

Yesterday, April 28, 2014, the time for  filing Sandy flood insurance “Proofs of Loss” was extended for an additional 6 months by FEMA.  This deadline is the date that the Proof of Loss must be RECEIVED by the insurer. This extension applies only to the Proof of Loss, not to the Statute of Limitations (which may require more immediate action, see below).

A few caveats…

First, the Statute of Limitations deadline (1 year from your 1st denial) remains the same — and it may accelerate this Proof of Loss deadline and require that you both (1) send Proof of Loss and then (2) file a lawsuit in Federal Court BEFORE the ending date of the October 2014 Proof of Loss extension.  In other words, the Statute of Limitations may both accelerate your own individual Proof of Loss deadline, and require that you also file a lawsuit (both within one year of the 1st denial of the claim, with Proof of Loss being submitted so it is received BEFORE you file the lawsuit), in order to preserve your rights to your claim.

Second, in other cases, some homeowners may believe that their individual Statute of Limitation’s date has already passed.  While we cannot guarantee that the Statute of Limitations will be redefined in Court, we do expect that eventually the Courts will be asked to rule on the correctness of the deadline as it is presently interpreted. Therefore filing a “Proof of Loss,” with supporting documentation, will permit you to take advantage of a change should it occur.

Third, determining the date of your 1st denial requires careful review of your entire claim file, and consultation on this issue by an experienced insurance attorney is strongly recommended.  See our March 2014 flyer and December 2013 update linked on the right side of this screen for the reasons why.

Be sure to check out the documents linked on the right of the screen, especially our March 2014 flyer and December 2013 update (both were written under the former, now extended, April 2014 Proof of Loss deadline).

Also take a look at the information in post immediately below, after the list of past proof of loss workshops, which explains why seeking professional help with Proof of Loss is strongly recommended.

Posted in Sandy News

Next Walk-in Clinics at Different Locations April 7-11

We are participating in walk-in clinics the week of April 7 at different locations.

Mon, April 7:  Suffolk County
– 7pm-8:30pm, Briarcliff College, 225 West Main St., Patchogue, no appointment necessary
SPECIAL THANKS to Legislators Robert Calarco and Bill Lindsay, and to Legislator Calarco’s Chief of Staff Eva Rodriguez-Greguski for organizing this event

For Tues, April 7 to Fri, April 11:  These clinics are designed to go over in detail with an attorney the flood insurance proof of loss requirement (see below).  Touro will not be able to participate in all of them, but other legal services providers will attend.

Tue, April 8:  Staten Island
– PLEASE CALL (646) 786-0887 to reserve your space and for details on the location

Wed, April 9:  Nassau County
– PLEASE CALL (646) 786-0887 to reserve your space, Freeport Recreational Center, 130 East Merrick Road, 10am-6pm
SPECIAL THANKS to Mayor Robert Kennedy and Nassau County Sandy Liaison Mike Raab for organizing this event

Thu, April 10:  Brooklyn
- PLEASE CALL (646) 786-0887 to reserve your space and for details on the location

Fri, April 11:  Queens
- PLEASE CALL (646) 786-0887 to reserve your space, Queens Library, 312 Beach 54 Street, Arverne, 11:30am-6:30pm

**FLOOD INSURANCE PROOF OF LOSS REQUIREMENT**

If you do not comply with the proof of loss requirement on time, you cannot sue your flood insurer.  Proof of loss is required if you are owed any flood insurance money, even if you are working with a public adjuster, consultant, contractor, or lawyer.  It is required even if you have been promised insurance money you have not received.   

However, the proof of loss requirement can be challenging and often requires ongoing professional help, including the use of experts to provide supporting documents, which these clinics cannot provide.  These clinics are likely to inform you of important steps to comply with the proof of loss requirement.  They are not a substitute for hiring experts that may be required to provide supporting documents.

We strongly recommend that you retain an experienced insurance attorney now — with experience in flood insurance claims in particular — to represent you.  Most work on a contingency, which means that there is no up front cost and legal fees are paid out of any recovery.

These clinics are not a substitute for retaining an experienced insurance lawyer, which may be important for these reasons: 

Filling out the forms:  To review and help complete the two main proof of loss forms.  (These are FEMA forms 86-0-9 and 86-0-12.  There is a separate, third form for ICC coverage, FEMA form 86-0-10.  They are available at http://www.fema.gov/fema-0)  These forms will always also require your own review and signature.

Supporting documentation:  To help identify necessary supporting documents.   The list of supporting documentation can be complicated, and is fact intensive.  Furthermore, this lawyer can work directly with experts to help procure it.

Sending proof of loss to the correct addresses so they are received on time:  To help ensure the signed proof of loss forms with all supporting documentation are sent to the correct addresses, by the correct methods, for the flood insurer on time.

Filing a lawsuit:  Submitting proof of loss is required, but not necessarily sufficient, to be paid owed insurance money.  Retaining an experienced insurance lawyer is also recommended if filing a lawsuit in Federal Court is necessary to vindicate your rights.

Additionally, and very importantly, filing a lawsuit may also be necessary simply to comply with FEMA’s interpretation of the lawsuit deadline, which varies by person.

We are sorry that this process is so complicated.  The legal services providers attending these clinics will not be able to take cases for representation.  For these reasons, these clinics should only be used as a last resort.    

See the flyers and updates on the upper right side of this screen for critical information about the impending flood insurance deadlines.

Posted in Sandy News

Next Touro Law Walk-in Clinic Wednesday Feb. 26th in Long Beach

The next walk-in clinic for Sandy-affected households is at the Sandy Resource Fair on Wednesday, February 26th at 6:00pm to 9:00pm.  It is located at the Lindell School, 601 Lindell Boulevard, Long Beach.   Come to this event to meet face to face with an attorney, no appointment necessary.  With special thanks to Legislator Denise Ford, the City of Long Beach, and Michael Raab.

For insurance-related issues, there are very fast approaching deadlines.  It is very important to identify what your deadlines may be, and to read carefully the December Update linked on the right.  Please feel free to email brajotte(at)tourolaw.edu with any questions.

Posted in Sandy News

Next Touro Law Center Walk-in Clinic Tuesday Feb. 18th

The next walk-in clinic for Sandy-affected households is Tuesday, February 18th at 5pm to 7pm at the Law School, 225 Eastview Drive, Central Islip 11722 (in the Faculty Conference Room) to meet face to face with an attorney, no appointment necessary for the Disaster Relief Clinic.  For insurance-related issues, there are very fast approaching deadlines: jt is important to identify what your deadlines may be and to read carefully the December Update linked on the right.  With special thanks to the groups below:

Empire Justice Center
Touro Law Center Mortgage Foreclosure Clinic
Touro Law Center Bankruptcy Clinic
New York Legal Assistance Group

Posted in Sandy News

Etymology of “Disaster”

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New Touro Law Land Use Blog Launched

Be sure to check out the new blog launched by Professor Sarah Adams-Schoen of Touro Law’s Institute on Land Use and Sustainable Development Law (LUSD), available here.  The LUSD blog, and additional resources on topics including disaster law and resiliency, are available on our blogroll.

Posted in Sandy News