Press Release 2011-04 Preparation for Flooding Begins Immediately Following Wallow Fire

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Arizona Department of Insurance
100 North 15th Avenue, Suite 261

Phoenix, AZ  85007-2630


Starting July 1, 2020, we became the
Department of Insurance and Financial Institutions (DIFI).


Public Information Contact: Erin Klug, 602-364-3471

For Immediate Release June 13, 2011

30 Days Required from Purchase of Insurance Before Policy Goes Into Effect

PHOENIX—Residents affected by the Wallow Fire may think the worst is over after the flames are extinguished but without proper preparation, a flooding disaster can be around the corner.

Wildfire alters the landscape in ways that increase water and mud runoff in burned areas. Under normal circumstances, the forest floor drains, dissipates and absorbs water effectively enough to reduce flooding downstream. Burned forest areas are more unstable and less able to hold water, collecting downstream with increased velocity and often resulting in urban and flash flooding.

This is why it pays to have flood insurance. Most homeowners’ insurance policies do not cover flood damage but most agents who sell homeowner’s insurance also can sell federal flood insurance policies. Detailed information about the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) is available at FloodSmart.gov on the Internet.

A phone call to the NFIP referral center at (888) 379-9531 will connect directly with a program representative who can provide local insurance agents and mail a program brochure.

It takes 30 days for an NFIP policy to go into effect after it is purchased, and with Arizona’s monsoon season rapidly approaching, now is the time to consider buying flood insurance.

Flood insurance is also available to renters to cover their belongings, and businesses, which can cover properties and contents. Residents and business owners in flood hazard zones, known as floodplains, may be required to carry flood insurance by their lender.

Although many tribes in Arizona do not participate in the NFIP, those tribes are encouraged contact FEMA directly for more information on the process to become eligible.

A few more tips:

  • Buying flood insurance can require diligence by purchasers. While insurance agents sell the

    insurance, they may not be as familiar with its details as they are with other insurance products.

  • Remember: Only 10 percent of the flood insurance coverage on the primary structure can be used to repair accessory structure(s) on the property so it is recommended that a separate policy be purchased for each structure.. For example, that means a separate policy for a detached garage, a guest house or any other structure you wish to protect. Additional separate policies are encouraged to insure the contents of each structure.

FLOOD INSURANCE FAQ

Q. Why should people buy flood insurance now?

A. You can’t wait until the rain starts falling because it takes 30 days for the policy to go into effect.

Q. Doesn’t my homeowner’s policy cover floods?

A. No. Flood insurance has to be obtained separately. It is available to property owners in any community that participates in FEMA’s National Flood Insurance Program.

Q. How much flood insurance is available?

A. Homeowners can obtain up to $250,000 on their home and up to $100,000 for contents. Non- residential buildings, such as businesses, can obtain a maximum of $500,000 on the structure and $500,000 on the contents.

Q. Can renters obtain flood insurance?

A. Yes. They may purchase insurance for up to $100,000 on the contents.

Q. Where can people purchase flood insurance?

A. Through their regular insurance agents.

Q. Is flood insurance available for homes and other buildings outside the high-risk zones?

A. Yes, and it’s a good idea to buy it no matter where you live. Between 20 and 25 percent of all flood insurance claims comes from low-risk areas.

Q. How can people find out more about the level of flood risk for their home?

A. One way is to go to www.floodsmart.gov. In most cases, by entering your address in the designated space, you will be advised on whether your structure is in a low-, moderate- or high-risk zone.

However, the flood risk within the Wallow Fire burn area has increased so existing maps that are used by the insurance industry will not reflect the increased risk of flooding. Many owners of structures within the Wallow Fire burn area will pay low to moderate flood insurance premiums unless their structures are located in flood-prone areas prior to the Wallow Fire.

Q: What are premium rates based on?

A: Premium rates for flood insurance are based on flood risk. Most inhabited areas of the nation have been assigned to a risk category; two neighbors’ property may be in different risk categories. Look up flood risk categories on FloodSmart.gov and find out what the insurance premium would be.

 

Period: 
2011
Priority: 
04
Insurers Offering Individual Health Insurance in Arizona

Lists insurance companies that are offering health insurance to individuals and families in Arizona in 2020.  Open enrollment starts November 1st and now runs through December 17th, 2019.  Individuals can start shopping for coverage now at healthcare.gov or cuidadodesalud.gov (Spanish)

Notice of Proposed Rulemaking - Corporate Governance Annual Disclosure Model Regulation In 2019, the Arizona Legislature adopted the NAIC Corporate Governance Annual Disclosure Model Act at Arizona Revised Statutes (“ARS”) by enacting the Corporate Governance Act at Title 20, Chapter 2, Article 16 (Laws 2019, 1st Reg. Sess., Ch. 180, § 1).   The Department of Insurance (“Department”) seeks to adopt the correlate Corporate Governance Annual Disclosure Model Regulation.  ARS § 20-492.02 allows the Department to adopt rules to carry out the Act upon notice and an opportunity to be heard.  The Legislature has exempted the Department from Title 41, Chapter 6 for one year after the effective date of the Act.  (Laws 2019, 1st Reg. Sess., Ch. 180, § 2.)
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As shown in the attached report prepared pursuant to A.R.S. § 20-3118(A), the Department of Insurance received 91 requests for dispute resolution in Calendar Year 2019.  Of those, 53 have been resolved or closed, and health plan enrollees saved $41,538 by submitting their surprise bills for resolution.  

Not all health care bills qualify for the surprise bill resolution process.  The Department's Suprise Out-of-network Billing Dispute Resolution website (https://insurance.az.gov/soonbdr, and especially the section entitled, "I got a surprise bill. Can I submit a request for arbitration?") lists conditions when a health care bill may not qualify under Arizona law for the dispute resolution process.  But for those that do, the enrollee will only be responsible for paying the enrollee's cost-sharing amounts (copay, coinsurance and deductible) if the enrollee provides information the Department needs, and participates in an informal settlement teleconference with the health care insurer and the health care provider.

Fire Readiness and Your Insurance Coverage

Complete three steps to be prepared

STEP ONE: Inventory your contents. 
Making a record of what you have provides two major benefits.  First, it could help you estimate the cost of replacing your contents, which you could use to make sure you have enough insurance coverage.  Second, it will help you identify missing or destroyed items if you need to file an insurance claim. Keep your inventory records in a safe place outside your home, such as a safe deposit box at a bank, or in a secure online location. 

  • The National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC) has a free app called, “MyHome Scr.APP.book,” available from Google Play and from the Apple App Store, which can help you keep track of your personal property. 
  • The Insurance Information Institute provides advice that can make creating a home inventory easier (https://www.iii.org/article/how-create-home-inventory).

STEP TWO: Understand what your homeowners’ insurance policy covers.
If you do not have your policy on hand, get a copy from your insurance company or insurance agent. Then, make sure your policy provides enough coverage for your dwelling, contents and additional living expenses.

  • Dwelling Coverage:  This pays to reconstruct your home, from ground up if necessary.  It does not include the cost of the land on which your home sits because you will still have that, but it should include the cost to remove a destroyed structure and replace it a home that is similar to what you had prior to the fire.
  • Contents Coverage:  This pays to repair or replace your personal belongings. Your policy may provide contents coverage based on a set percentage of your dwelling coverage, but you can pay for more contents coverage if you think you need it. 
    • Check to see if your coverage will pay “actual cash value” or “replacement cost.”  Actual cash value (ACV) means what an item was worth when it was destroyed based on its initial cost minus depreciation or loss in value due to its age, condition and wear-and-tear.  Replacement cost (RC) means the cost to replace or repair damaged or destroyed property with materials of “like kind and quality”. Claims for damaged or destroyed items will initially be paid based on the ACV of the item.  When the item is replaced, a copy of the receipt must be provided to the insurance company to obtain payment of the balance owed.  Many policies require the damaged items to be replaced within six (6) months.
    • If you have expensive items, such as artwork, jewelry or computers, you can purchase or increase “scheduled” property coverage to make sure you have sufficient coverage for those items.
  • Additional Living Expense (a.k.a. Loss of Use) Coverage. This pays additional costs you may resulting from the property damage.  For example, if you are not able to live in your home, your policy may cover the costs of lodging and food, boarding your pets, etc.

Importantly, insurance policies are often lengthy, detailed documents.  Do not hesitate to contact your agent or insurance company representative if you have any questions. 

STEP THREE: Minimize your fire risk.
Periodically inspect your home for overloaded power strips, damaged electrical cords or other potential fire hazards.  Keep vegetation and combustible materials away from your home.  If you are in an area that is at higher risk for wildfire, follow “Avoiding Wildfire Damage” guidelines published by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (https://www.fema.gov/pdf/hazard/wildfire/wdfrdam.pdf). 

Remain organized and keep good records

If you are the victim of a fire, remaining organized after an event can be difficult, but it is essential so that you can receive the benefits that your insurance coverage provides.

  • Keep all receipts for living expenses (housing, food, etc.) and for all items that you replace or repair.  Insurance companies may require that you submit original receipts. You should either copy, scan or take clear photos of receipts to provide yourself a backup. 
  • Take photos of your property and the damage.
  • Keep records of all your conversations, emails and letters about your claim with your insurance company and agent.  Take notes of conversations, documenting who you talked to, when you talked to them and what you were told. When possible, send an e-mail message to the person with whom you had the conversation to confirm your understanding of what you were told.
  • Do not throw away or destroy damaged property until your insurer inspects the property and tells you in writing/e-mail that you can do so.
  • Take an inventory of the damaged contents.  If you have an inventory from before the fire, use it to help identify items that were damaged/destroyed. 
  • When the insurer inspects the damage, do a complete walkthrough of your property and point out any issues or concerns you have.
  • When beginning the repair process, get multiple repair estimates from licensed contractors (look up records on the Arizona Registrar of Contractors “Contractor Search” page at https://roc.az.gov/contractor-search) with good reputations (look up records on the Better Business Bureau website at https://www.bbb.org).
  • Don’t delay.  Insurance policies generally have restrictions on how long after a fire you can file claims.

Persons with disabilities may request materials in an alternative format by contacting our Americans with Disabilities Act Coordinator at (602) 364-0108. 

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