Protecting your rights after Sandy
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According to the terms of FEMA flood policies, and many homeowners’ policies, if the homeowner and the insurer fail to agree on the actual cash value and/or replacement cost of the damaged property, the homeowner may demand an “Appraisal of the Loss.” The Appraisal is similar to a formal arbitration proceeding; the homeowner and the insurance company are represented by attorneys.
Each side submits a report from a competent expert to support their position. Both sides jointly choose an umpire to hear the case, or, if they can’t agree on whom to choose, the Court will appoint the umpire. The Appraisal proceeds with testimony, cross examination, and further written submissions to argue the claim.
If there is a total denial of coverage, Litigation is sometimes another option. Since FEMA is a U.S. government agency, flood policy arbitration must go to Federal Court, which is more expensive and time consuming than the Appraisal process. Litigation for homeowners’ insurance claims is often brought to State Court.
The firm, when representing homeowners in Appraisals (arbitrations), will be compensated (paid) according to a contingent fee arrangement that is taken out of the final Appraisal award (money received from the claim). They are also reimbursed for any expenses, costs or fees that have been advanced on the client’s behalf.
The Law Offices of Elliot J. Blumenthal offers telephone consultations to homeowners who disagree with the outcome of their insurance claims, be it flood, homeowners, or both. One of the attorneys will discuss your claim to determine the next steps.