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Proof of loss deadline approaching for those with flood insurance

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BATON ROUGE- An important deadline is coming up if you had flood insurance but don't feel like you were compensated fairly by your insurance company.

This week, Insurance Commissioner Jim Donelon asked the feds for another extension for the National Flood Insurance Program's proof of loss deadline.

Currently, this affects $30,000 people who flooded last August. The necessary paperwork must be submitted before September 1 if an extension isn't granted.

Darlene Taillon just moved back into her home after 26 inches of water swamped her home. As Harvey churns in the Gulf, she's concerned about more rain.

"Just wondering if we will flood again," Taillon said.

Taillon is one of the area's 30,000 residents that did have flood insurance last August, but it wasn't enough.

"It did not cover everything,"Taillon said.

Even after she received her payout, the Taillons had to come out of pocket $12,000 to make up what insurance didn't pay for. Raj Pandit is currently representing more than 800 residents in our area who believe their insurance company underpaid them for damages in the August flood. As he began looking into what happened, he found the adjusters coming out to tally damages were getting paid per house. The more houses they assessed the more money they made.

"There's an incentive to do it fast, and when you do it fast, you often times don't do it well," Pandit said. "Especially for something as tedious as adjusting."

A fee schedule on FEMA's website backs up what Pandit is talking about. According to FEMA, adjusters can make $1,640 for any claim written at less than $50,000. Although adjusters make more money the higher the claim, those take more time according to Pandit. It's why he says so many residents feel disenfranchised by the money they received.

"The larger the damage they write, the more money they get paid," Pandit said. "On the surface, that is a true statement. But, in reality, they have so many claims to go through, it's easier for them to write seven to ten average claims a day then to write two claims very thoroughly."

Tonight, a deadline to recoup money that you may have missed out on is fast approaching. Tuesday, Insurance Commissioner Jim Donelon sent a letter to the feds. Part of it reads,"there are still thousands of victims of that flood dealing with contractors and the challenges presented by their repair efforts in a very tight construction market." For those reasons, Donelon asked for a deadline of December 31st so people can assess their costs and continue to rebuild.

For people like Taillon, she's done fighting and is willing to swallow the $12,000 insurance didn't pick up to have peace.

"We always knew we had loving family and friends but everybody, the community, it's not just us," Taillon said. "Everyone came together."

According to figures by Donelon, the flood last August was the fourth worst event in the nation's history. The Department of Insurance says they're hoping to hear back from the feds about an extension in a few days.

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