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Saturday, October 25, 2014
Proof of loss deadline extended for Sandy victims
Statute of limitations to file lawsuit remains the same
By Alexandra Spychalsky
Kristie Arden/Herald
Senator Charles Schumer held a press conference at the vacant East Hudson Street property of Rena Bonne last October, where he urged FEMA to extend its statute of limitations for homeowners to file lawsuits against their flood insurance companies

Sens. Charles Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand announced this week that the Federal Emergency Management Agency has extended its deadline to submit proof of loss forms for Hurricane Sandy-related insurance claims by six months, to Oct. 30.

FEMA typically requires an insurance claim to be filed within 60 days of the disaster, but because of the scale of damage caused by Sandy, that deadline was extended to a year after the storm. As that deadline neared, many homeowners were unable to file because they were waiting for repair work to begin on their homes, and were unaware of additional expenses needed to rebuild. Schumer and Gillibrand then secured an extension for six months, to April 28. Last week, Schumer and Gillibrand called on FEMA to grant another extension because, they said, many homeowners still need additional time to file their flood insurance claims.

“It is great news that FEMA has heeded our call and extended the ‘proof of loss’ deadline by six months, allowing Sandy-victims more time to recover and more time to file their flood insurance claims,” Schumer said.

Proof of loss is a form used by policyholders to detail the amount they are claiming under their policies. It must be submitted with supporting documentation, like invoices and engineers’ reports. Policyholders cannot pursue legal action against their insurance companies without submitting the form, and if it is not submitted by the deadline, an insurance company may close a file and consider a claim complete.

Thousands of seniors, families and children are still displaced or living homes devastated by Sandy, the senators said in a statement. Some are having difficulty making repairs to their home because they were underpaid by their flood insurers and are being told that to get the money they are owed, they need to document how they have spent it. Schumer and Gilibrand said that this extension would help these individuals further document their costs and get the money they are owed.

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