Georgia Insurers Warned Not to Penalize Flood Claimants

October 30, 2009

Georgia Insurance Commissioner John W. Oxendine has issued a directive to homeowners insurance companies ordering them not to penalize policyholders who’ve had flood damage.

“A consumer should not be penalized for reporting damage,” Oxendine said. “I don’t want insurers non-renewing policyholders whose homes were damaged by flooding, especially when claims reporting is mandated by FEMA for a consumer to be eligible for benefits.”

Under Georgia law, insurance companies are prohibited from non-renewing homeowners coverage for two or fewer claims within 36 months, provided such claims are not attributable to negligent or intentional acts of the insured. Oxendine said some consumers feared that their insurers might non-renew their policies believing a flooded home is a poor risk.

Consumers who feel their policy has been unfairly non-renewed should
immediately send written notice to their insurer contesting the decision, Oxendine said. The notice must be received before the effective date of non-renewal. After receipt of the letter, the company must explain in writing why coverage has been denied.

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