PolitickerNJ Wire Feed
TRENTON – Two bills sponsored by Senate Commerce Committee Chair Nia H. Gill to help improve the homeowners insurance claims process for New Jersey residents by addressing problems encountered by consumers in the aftermath of Sandy were approved today by the committee.
“Homeowners who were already dealing with the stress of major property damage, and in many cases absolute devastation, in the aftermath of Sandy encountered additional problems when they attempted to recoup their losses through the insurance claims process,” said Senator Gill (D-Essex/Passaic). “In some instances, homeowners learned their policy did not include flood insurance and, therefore, could not receive compensation from their insurer. In other instances, homeowners who sought public adjusters to help them navigate the insurance claims process were asked to pay exorbitant prices for the service. We have to make sure these kinds of issues do not occur again and that homeowners are safeguarded against unnecessary property or monetary loss going forward.”
In the aftermath of Sandy, many impacted New Jersey residents have been denied claims made to their insurance company because their policy did not cover certain events. Some residents believed they had been paying for flood insurance only to find out after Sandy devastated their home that they, in fact, never had flood insurance. In addition, after the storm some residents who sought public adjusters to help with the claims process said they were asked to pay hefty fees for the service, some up to five times the fee typically charged, according to information from the state Department of Banking and Insurance. The senator noted that her bills seek to address both problems and ensure that New Jersey residents are treated fairly during the insurance claims process.
The first bill (S-2502) would require insurance companies to make policies more clear for policy holders by requiring a one-page summary of the policy, including notable coverages and exclusions under the policy, in the informational brochure currently provided to consumers. The one page summary is intended to bring homeowners’ attention to important aspects of their policy related to natural disasters, such as hurricane deductibles and flood insurance.
The second bill (S-2472) would cap the fees public adjusters are allowed to charge. After Sandy, the state Department of Banking and Insurance received complaints that some adjusters – which are hired by the policy holder to advocate on their behalf and to ease the claims process – were charging a fee of up to 50% of the homeowner’s insurance claim settlement. The average fee nationally ranges from 10 percent to 15 percent. The bill would cap allowable fees at 12.5 percent of the gross settlement. With this measure, New Jersey would join a number of other states, including New York, that cap public adjuster fees.
“It important that homeowners understand their policy coverage limits before a natural disaster occurs, and that if they decide to hire an adjuster to help with the claims process after a storm they are not charged unreasonable fees for the service,” said Senator Gill. “These are commonsense reforms that will address both matters. Ultimately, they will ensure consumers are better informed and protected in the event they incur damage to their property and must file an insurance claim in the future.”
S-2502 was approved by a vote of 6-0; S-2472 was approved by a vote of 5-0-1. Both bills now head to the full Senate for a vote.
NJ Senate Majority Office
SEA BRIGHT - Gov. Chris Christie said today he is leaning against renewing red light cameras in New Jersey, but hasn't yet made a final decision on the subject.Read More >
Chris Christie's Jekyll & Hyde complex We all know the story: An amiable, even-keeled doctor, in an effort to separate the good from his darker impulses, concocts and consumes a secret potion that, momentarily, induces a metamorphosis of physical and mental being and turns him into a monstrous and...
By MICHAEL W. KLEIN In his weekly radio address on August 16, President Obama challenged colleges “to do their part to bring down costs” and lighten the tuition burden on students. The state colleges and universities in New Jersey have... Read More >
"He was a focal point for the disturbance." - former New Jersey Governor Brendan Byrne (the Essex County Prosecutor in July 1967), of former Newark Mayor Hugh Addonizio- PolitickerNJ
Press releases are submitted by PolitickerNJ users, not by staff. They do not represent the viewpoint of PolitickerNJ.com.