Avoid the Storm After the Storm – How to Navigate the Flood Claim Process
When a disaster strikes, it’s important to understand how the NFIP and Wright Flood claims process work. Otherwise, you may find yourself dealing with the storm after the storm – a damaged home and a long road to recovery.
As the nation’s top flood insurance provider, Wright Flood believes that the more information you have about the flood claims process, the better equipped you’ll be to deal with a potential disaster. If a flood event happens in your community, The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) offers these ten steps to help avoid the storm after the storm and restore your home and your community:
Report the loss to your insurance agent or the insurance carrier, who will in turn assign an adjusting firm who provides an adjuster to assist you with presenting the support for your loss.
The adjuster inspects the property (scoping visit) and may ask if you wish to request an advance payment from your insurer; the adjuster will send you a detailed room-by-room unit-cost estimate of damage and a proof of loss form. If you agree, the proof of loss form should be signed to and sworn to, and submitted to the WYO company (NFIP insurer) within 60 days of the date of loss, or within any extension of that deadline made in writing by the Administrator for Federal Insurance and Mitigation.* Upon your Insurer’s review and agreement, the loss is settled.
If you do not agree, you should work with your adjuster to find a dollar amount for the covered loss that can be agreed on. Also, working with your general contractor is also helpful.
If you are unable to reach an agreement with the adjuster, you should contact your adjuster’s supervisor by calling the adjusting firm.
The supervisor should work with you to find a dollar amount for the covered loss that can be agreed on.
If you are unable to reach an agreement with the adjuster’s supervisor, you should contact your insurance carrier’s claims department to discuss the amount difference or coverage issue with a claim examiner.
If you are unable to reach an agreement you should complete a proof of loss form for the total amount you are requesting (the undisputed amount plus any additional amount), and then send the signed and sworn-to proof of loss form with documentation to support the additional amount you are requesting, directly to the insurance carrier claim adjuster.
If the insurer agrees with your documentation, they will pay the amount you are requesting; or they may provide the adjusting firm with their recommendation which may lead to an additional payable amount and a new Proof of Loss. If the insurer disagrees, they will issue payment for any undisputed amount, and a written denial letter will be sent to you fully explaining the reasons for the disallowance (denial) of your claim or any portion of your claim.
If you agree with the denial or no longer dispute the decision, the loss is settled.
For any denial of payment, in whole or in part, which you are disputing, three options remain:
- You may send an amended Proof of Loss with supporting documentation back to the claim examiner; see STEP 8
- You may submit a formal Appeal to FEMA: A written Appeal letter must be sent to FEMA within 60 days of your insurer’s denial letter, along with a copy of the denial letter and the documentation you have to support your Appeal.
- You may file a lawsuit against your insurer. A lawsuit must be filed within one year of your insurer’s first written denial letter and only in U.S. District Court in the district where the property is located at the time of the loss. However, once you file a lawsuit, you may no longer appeal your claim to FEMA or file an amended Proof of Loss with your insurer
Our flood claims process team works hard to process claims as quickly as possible after a disaster to help you weather the storm after the storm and restore your life and your community.
To find a local Wright Flood insurance agent please call 866-373-5663.
*FEMA is responsive to each storm’s situation and may modify the proof of loss requirements on any given storm event.