NEWS & INFORMATION FROM THE IOWA INSURANCE DIVISION Iowa Insurance Division 330 Maple Street Des Moines, Iowa 50319 November 15, 2005 Contact: Tom Alger, Communications Director PH 515.242.5179 FX 515.281.3059 Tom.Alger@iid.state.ia.us FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE Insurance Commissioner Offers Advice for Storm Victims Insurance Division available as resource. DES MOINES –In the wake of late season storms that destroyed scores of homes and damaged many others, the Iowa Insurance Division anticipates that many claims will be filed to the companies that insured the homes of those central Iowa victims. Insurance Commissioner Susan Voss offers the following suggestions to victims of storms like this: • • • • • • • • • • • • Take pictures of damage as soon as possible. Do not throw out damaged furniture or other expensive items until the adjuster sees them. Start to make a list of items missing or destroyed so it is ready when you meet with your adjuster Work with your agent. If your policy is missing, get a copy of it from your agent. Find out your insurance company’s rules and guidelines for temporary repairs. Board up broken windows and holes in walls or roof. Plywood and heavy plastic sheeting are useful. Keep all repair bills and receipts. Do not contract for repairs, except temporary ones, without checking with your adjuster or agent. Don’t allow yourself to be rushed into signing repair contracts. Check contractor credentials. Give all numbers where you can be reached so insurance adjusters and others can find you. If the estimated settlement proves to be inadequate, you may request a reinspection if additional damage is discovered. If you are unable to reach your agent, contact the Insurance Division’s toll-free number, 877-955-1212. The weekend storms, though severe, are exactly the kind of losses that insurance companies factor into rating and for which consumers purchase insurance on our homes. While we have not heard directly from insurance companies about the total amount of damages because they are just getting claims reports now we believe that because the area of impact was in a relatively small part of the state and involved a small fraction of total homes insured, we have no indication that this damage will have a significant impact on future rates for Iowans. Often problems resulting from settlements of less than the full amount of damage are related to underinsurance. Actual cash value coverage is less likely to deliver the same benefit as a replacement cost or inflation protection policy. Commission Voss commented, “Unfortunately, this serves as a reminder that consumers need to review their homeowner or renter policies with their agents on a regular basis, and to keep photo or video records of their possessions in anticipation of just such a loss. It’s also a good idea to store these records and insurance policies in a separate safe place, such a safety deposit box. The damage that the storms brought to these unfortunate victims last week could be the same losses any of us could face on another day.” ### About the iid The Iowa Insurance Division (iid) has general control, supervision and direction over all insurance and securities business transacted in the state, and enforces the Iowa’s laws and regulations. The iid investigates consumer complaints and prosecutes companies, agents and brokers engaging in unfair trade practices. Consumers with insurance or securities-related questions or complaints may contact the iid toll free at 877-955-1212 or visit the division on the web at www.iid.state.ia.us.
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