Post-tornado insurance guidelines look to help storm victims

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ILLINOIS (WAND) – After tornadoes across Illinois dealt heavy damage, insurance providers were asked to loosen guidelines.

The Illinois Department of Insurance sent out a bulletin Tuesday detailing new rules it wants companies to follow in the aftermath of the tornado outbreak. The Dec. 1 series of storms resulted in at least 27 tornadoes touching down in the state, including an EF-3 tornado that devastated Taylorville.

The new guidelines include:

  • The removal of cancellation or non-renewal notices issued on Nov. 23, 2018, or after that date. New notices shouldn’t be sent until Jan. 23, 2019
  • Policy timeline extensions for affected policyholders when they're required to “perform an act”, such as filing a claim or proof of loss, sending in bills, reporting information or paying funds. Those extensions should last for at least 60 days “from the last date allowed or required under the terms of a contract or allowed or required by the insurer, or longer if deemed reasonable given an individual consumer’s circumstance”, per an IDOI press release
  • An extension of home repair deadlines by at least 60 days
  • No cancellations or non-renewals of policies involving properties affected by these storms for “increase in the risk originally accepted” or geographic location of the risk
  • Policy or contract requirement exceptions in cases where the storm disaster prevents people from meeting those requirements
  • The display of all post-disaster policy changes on insurance company websites for customers to see

Insurers are also asked to make sure people can reach the IDOI if they want to complain about a disaster-related policy issue. The complaint hotline is 1-866-445-5364. Complaints can also be filed online here.

“It is my expectation that where insurers are guided by a ‘reasonableness’ standard, they will err on the side of the consumer,” said IDOI Director Jennifer Hammer in the release. “It is also my sincere hope that all insurers in this state will assist consumers during this time of need.”

Hammer says insurance companies who can't or don't wish to follow those guidelines need to reach out to the IDOI in writing by Dec. 19. 

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