4B — October 25 - November 7, 2013 — Owners, Developers & Managers — Mid Atlantic Real Estate Journal
www.marejournal.com O WNERS , D EVELOPERS & M ANAGERS By James Burns, Esq., Conlee Whiteley & Michael Fortunato, Esq. The how and when of filing your Sandy insurance claim O ne year after Super- storm Sandy, many residents and business
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owners throughout the area have yet to receive the proper insurance compensation for incurred damages. Whether a proof of claim has been filed, or is still being contemplated, New Jersey property owners and homeowner associations should be aware of important deadlines for placing the insur- ance carrier on notice of a claim and/or instituting a lawsuit after denial of coverage. Policy- holders who fail to comply with these deadlines risk losing their rights to recover from losses.
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less specifically excluded. It is important to note that all risk policies typically exclude coverage for damage caused by flood. The Proof of Loss • A comprehensive, compe- tently prepared Proof of Loss is the key to a successful claim. A Proof of loss is a formal, sworn statement which details the amount of money the insured claims it is owed under the policy. Before preparing a proof of loss, we strongly advise our clients to retain experts to perform an investigation of the property and determine, through the use of forensic analysis, the causation of dam- ages and amounts owed under the policy. Wind damage in particular is often latent and only detectable by competent professionals. With looming deadlines, insureds should be- gin to assemble the proper team to determine the extent of their loss and to properly document these losses in a method accept- able to the insurance carrier. Flood Policies • Flood insurers issue the Standard Flood Insurance Policy (SFIP), which is admin- istered by the federal govern- ment under National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP). Courts have little flexibility to interpret flood policies in favor of the insured, as the policies are set forth in federal statutes and regulations. Therefore, strict compliance is required. • SFIP policies require that a sworn proof of loss, detailing the amount and scope of flood damage, be submitted within 60 days of the occurrence. Be- cause of the volume of claims related to Superstorm Sandy, however, FEMA, on October 1, 2013, extended the time to sub- mit a proof of loss until April 28, 2014. This deadline is fixed and flood policyholders must meet it or lose their claims forever. • The SFIP further gives policyholders one year from the date of their claim’s full or partial denial to file a lawsuit. continued on page 20B
The applicable deadlines vary greatly based upon the cause of the damage, and whether the claim will be filed under a flood policy or an all risk policy, which covers all damage un-
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