Photos From Albany, Georgia
Letter from the President
Greetings Fellow GAPIA members and associates, 
We are already past the holiday hangover and though I was hopeful to put a photo of the Lombardi Trophy in my letter this month, the Patriots had other plans.  But I’m confident that the Falcons will Rise Up and be back again. 
Unfortunately, the start to 2017 has not been without weather stories; we have already had a busy fire season so far, and it hits close to home when fire claims the life of a beloved sports figure.  Quentin Moses, a standout Defensive End at UGA and for the Miami Dolphins, lost his life in a fire that engulfed his home in the early morning on Sunday. 
As everyone is aware, violent and catastrophic tornadoes recently hit South Georgia in the Albany and Adel areas.  I have had the opportunity to tour both of these areas, assisting homeowners who didn’t have insurance with some fundraising efforts.  Not since 1936 has this area seen such widespread devastation, and while the recent storms were massive, the death toll was tragic, with over 20 lives lost in the storm and its wake. 
Cordele EF4 Tornado Damage, 1936

Handling Claims Under the Georgia Condominium Act
by Bob Caspar, PA
They are everywhere! In the heart of Buckhead, out in the countryside, at the tops of mountains in Blue Ridge and along our beautiful Georgia Coastline. CONDOMINIUMS! CONDOMINIUMS! CONDOMINIUMS!
Everywhere you look another condominium is springing up just around the corner. So you better know a little something about handling their insurance claims.
The dictionary defines a condominium as:
a multiple-unit complex, an apartment house, or office building, units of which are individually owned, each owner receiving a recordable deed to the individual unit purchased, including the right to sell, mortgage, etc. that unit and sharing in joint ownership of any common grounds, passageways, etc.
Under section §44-3-71 of the Georgia Condominium Act the definition states:
“Condominium” means the property lawfully submitted to this article by the recordation of condominium instruments pursuant to this article. No property shall be deemed to be a condominium within the meaning of this article unless undivided interests in common elements are vested in the unit owners.
Second Extension Granted for Hurricane Matthew Flood Proofs of Loss

by Shane Smith, Merlin Law Group

I just returned from the Windstorm Insurance Network Conference in Orlando, Florida, where both defense and policyholder professionals discussed and debated important topics in the property/windstorm insurance claims industry.

It was a nice surprise to see that today FEMA granted another 60-day extension of time for policyholders in Florida, North Carolina, Georgia, South Carolina, and Virginia to submit their signed, proofs of loss for flood damage as a result of Hurricane Matthew.

Here is a link to the WYO Bulletin.

You can read Nicole Vinson’s prior blog about the first 60-day extension FEMA issued.

The purpose of the extension is to allow policyholders additional time to finalize their claims. With this extension, policyholders have 180 days following the date of loss to provide their completed, signed, and sworn proof of loss.

This extension applies to NFIP claims associated with the following FICO numbers: 680  (Florida), 681 (North Carolina), 356 (Georgia), 357 (South Carolina), and 358 (Virginia), whether the NFIP issued the policy directly or through the Write Your Own (WYO) Program.

Market Developments Outside of Georgia

Insurers Must Provide Complete Replacement Cost Estimates

By Kevin Pollack, Merlin Law Group

The California Supreme Court issued a unanimous ruling yesterday requiring insurers to communicate “complete” replacement cost estimates to insureds.1 The ruling not only found the regulation requiring this action to be well within the Insurance commissioner’s authority, but found the basis for the regulation to be well founded. It is a wonderful victory for policyholders in California.

The issue pending before the California Supreme Court was whether the California Insurance Commissioner had authority to issue a proposed insurance regulation that sought to:

  1. require insurers to communicate “complete” replacement cost estimates to insureds when selling homeowners policies;
  2. classify incomplete or misleading estimates by insurers or their representatives as a violation of California Insurance Code §790.03 (part of California’s the Unfair Insurance Practices Act).

The court found that Insurance Commissioner Dave Jones was within his authority to enact the new regulation aimed at stamping out the practice of providing incomplete home replacement cost estimates, leaving homeowners underinsured and unable to rebuild their homes after paying premium for insurance products they were led to believe provided sufficient insurance to rebuild their homes.

The ruling revives a regulation that was set to take effect in 2011, before it was struck down by the trial court in 2013.

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