If you receive unsatisfactory responses from federal or state officials about your claim, please feel free to e-mail Green at email@example.com.
Charles H. Willard, Stevensville: I have a gazebo, wharf area and bulkhead
that were destroyed by the hurricane. I have flood insurance but was told
that there is no coverage for these items and that I couldn't purchase any
type of coverage for these types of things. Is this correct?
U.S. Senate appears
likely to ask for a re-evaluation of the policy, however, so those things
may be covered in the future.
Dot Hardy, Dorchester: We were victims of Isabel in Dorchester County. We
have flood insurance and received depreciated compensation checks. My
question: Because the check was over $20,000, our mortgage company's name
was third party and is holding funds in escrow until an inspector comes to
see final work completed. In the meantime, we have had to use our home
equity money to fund all projects. I feel they thought I was not going to
use the funds to rebuild, and I don't believe this was fair. It's been long,
hard months of work and labor and hardship for us having to travel from
Baltimore to Cambridge. Is this fair?
Green: Whether it's fair or not, many people have experienced similar
problems with their mortgage holders. You might try calling the Maryland
Insurance Administration, 410-468-2000, to see if they can help persuade
the bank to release more money up front.
Cathy Howell, Edgewater: We're demolishing our house and rebuilding. I
have heard that there are loans that are not income-related. Are these
restricted only to loans that are above 85 percent value of the new house?
Also, I'm one of many who is not happy with insurance but haven't submitted
anything to the commissioner. What is the easiest way to submit?
Green: Part of the legislation the state just passed, House Bill 3, or HB 3,
creates a partnership with banks to provide the non-income restricted loans
you mention. The primary purpose, as you suggest, is for loans that are
above the banks' normal limit. However, another part of the program allows
the state to subsidize the interest on those loans for a period of five
years. For more information, call: 1-866-227-2497, Maryland's Department of
Housing and Community Development.
Linda D., Baltimore: If we have already settled for our flood insurance
payment, should we find out what software was used by the adjuster to
calculate our losses? How do we know what software should have been used?
Green: Officials with the National Flood Insurance Program will review your
claim regardless of what software was used. NFIP officials have said that
if the software, or anything else, resulted in a low-ball settlement, they
will adjust your claim. Call them at 1-800-427-4661.
Harry Curland, Annapolis: I have already signed a "proof of loss" and
received payment. Can I still appeal for higher compensation? What
documentation is necessary? What is the procedure to appeal?
Green: Yes, you can still appeal, though the NFIP is still working out the
process. NFIP is at 1-800-427-4661.
Alice Baker, Parkville: Does HB 3 make any provision for seniors whose
property is free and clear but do not have the means to rebuild. I asked
[Baltimore County] Executive [James T.] Smith Jr.'s aide but did not get an answer. Why can't these seniors
get these loans and pay only interest until property is disposed of? I
don't think reverse mortgages, like [Del.] Maggie L. McIntosh spoke of is the answer.
Green: HB 3 does allow you to take out the loans and pay only the interest
until the property is sold or transferred. Depending on your income, you
may not have to pay interest at all. Call 1-866-227-2497 for information.
Baltimoresun.com reader from Miller's Island: If my house is insured for
$105,000 and insurance only paid $30,000 for repairs, now since the house
is considered to have greater than 50 percent damage and needs to be
replaced per Baltimore County Code, will the flood insurance make up the
Green: Not automatically. You need to contact the NFIP and ask them to
re-examine your claim. That number again is 1-800-427-4661.
Norma Norris, Grasonville: The flood insurance adjuster came up with a
figure of $34,000 to repair our waterfront home. This turned out to be
about half of what it cost to do the repairs. We have had to get a home
equity loan to make up the difference, but this is another financial burden
on us. What recourse do we have now to try and increase the payment to us?
Green: Again, try contacting the NFIP, 1-800-427-4661.
Baltimoresun.com reader in Edgemere: Why has the Maryland Insurance
Commission taken so long to work with insurance claims appeals that are
sent to them? After numerous calls about my claim, no one from the state has called me back. How long is this supposed to take? If our tax dollars are paying for this, maybe their pay should equal their output, which is zero.
Green: The Maryland Insurance Administration said recently that it is now
forwarding new complaints to the NFIP on a weekly basis. However, if you
don't want to wait for them -- or don't feel comfortable leaving your case
up to them -- you can call the NFIP directly, 1-800-427-4661.
Isabel Q&A with The Sun's Andrew A. Green
Baltimore County reporter answers readers' questions about dealing with insurance problems and other issues related to storm's aftermath
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