As the one-year anniversary of Hurricane Sandy draws closer, so do the deadlines for pursuing legal action against insurance companies.
For Long Beach residents who were unsatisfied with their storm-related insurance settlements and are fighting for more, there are two important deadlines looming, one for submitting a “proof of loss” and the other the statute of limitations for filing suit against an insurer.
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. Local attorney Denis Kelly, who has held free seminars to help people navigate the process, said that 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.
After a flood, a policyholder usually must file a proof of loss within 60 days. After Sandy, the Federal Emergency Management Agency extended that deadline one year to Oct. 29, 2013. This week, however, FEMA announced that, at the request of U.S. Sens. Charles Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand, that deadline has once again been extended, for an additional six months.
“A six-month extension will help ensure that families aren’t denied the insurance money they deserved because of missing paperwork they didn’t know they needed to file,” Schumer said. “Sandy was a storm unlike any we’ve ever seen, and the rebuilding process is incredibly complex. This extension takes that complexity into account.”
Although the deadline extension will help many, Kelly said that people should file their documents without delay. “Our lives have been so miserable and so action-packed every day, [six months] is going to fly by,” he said. “Even with the extension, there is no reason to delay.”