Washington Makes Insurance Plea for Storm Damage Victims

December 28, 2007

Washington Insurance Commissioner Mike Kreidler has asked insurance companies and other regulated entities to take voluntary steps to ensure that homeowners, businesses and consumers affected by December’s winter storms don’t suffer additional unnecessary hardship.

The Insurance Commissioner’s plea is a call for voluntary cooperation because he has no authority to order such relief.

“I believe that this will help provide some small measure of comfort and peace of mind during the early recovery process, and help ensure that these winter storm victims do not lose insurance coverage during the time they need it most,” he said.

Specifically, Kreidler has asked insurers to voluntarily extend time limits placed on policyholders in the affected areas until after Jan. 10, 2008. That would include any requirements for policyholders to act or transmit information or funds.

Kreidler has asked that insurers withdraw and reissue any new policy cancellations or non-renewal notices mailed one week prior to Dec. 3, 2007, and not issue any new cancellation notices in the affected counties until after Jan. 10, 2008.

The request pertains to Grays Harbor, Lewis, Mason, Pacific and Thurston counties. Citing the widespread disruption of mail, energy, transportation and basic communication services in those counties, Kreidler said it is very likely that benefits afforded to policyholders under the insurance code could be compromised.

Kreidler’s request voluntary assistance by insurers follows the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s (FEMA) recent disaster declaration for these counties, making residents eligible for individual assistance in the recovery process.

He said that the disruption in basic services could make it difficult, or impossible, for policyholders to meet some obligations as spelled out in their coverage, including requirements for policyholders to act or respond within certain periods of time.

Source: OIC

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