For Immediate Release: May 19, 2014
Mediation Helps Resolve Disputes Over Storm Damage Insurance Claims
Program is available for disaster-area homeowners who have had their claims denied.
RALEIGH -- Insurance Commissioner Wayne Goodwin today announced that homeowners whose insurance claims have been denied for damage caused by the April 25, 2014, tornadoes, high winds and severe storms may be eligible for the Disaster Mediation Program.
The Disaster Mediation Program was created to help homeowners resolve disputes with their insurance companies over claims arising from disasters declared by North Carolina's Governor or the President of the United States. The Governor issued a disaster declaration on May 14 for Beaufort, Chowan, Pasquotank and Perquimans counties.
Eligible policyholders in those counties can request mediation if they have had claims for residential property damage partially or completely denied by their insurance company. During a mediation conference, an independent mediator with no connection to the insurance company will facilitate discussion between the insurance company and the policyholder to help them reach a resolution.
"I want to make sure that the insurance claims process goes as smoothly as possible for our citizens," Goodwin said. "Mediation can help homeowners resolve disputes with their insurance companies in a fair and timely manner."
Disaster Mediation Program details:
- Mediation is free for eligible homeowners. Commercial property policies and auto policies are not eligible for mediation.
- Requests for mediation must be made within 60 days from the date the claim was denied. Homeowners should notify their insurance company of the request.
- Homeowners must have a disputed claim in which the insurer has denied payment in whole or in part. The dispute must be over the insurance company's findings on the cause of the loss or the amount of the loss.
- The total amount of the claim, or the difference in position between the policyholder and the insurer, must be at least $1,500 (unless both parties agree to mediate a smaller claim).
- Disputed claims do not include claims denied because of policy exclusions, terms or conditions, or because the policy was not in force at the time of loss.
- Mediators facilitate discussion and negotiation between the parties but do not make a decision on the claim.
To learn more about the Disaster Mediation Program, visit www.ncdoi.com/Consumer/Consumer_Disaster_Mediation.aspx or call the Department of Insurance at 800-546-5664.
Additional information will soon be available through program administrator the American Arbitration Association at 800-426-8792 or by clicking here.